labor shortages

According to a recent study, the healthcare industry may see an increase in labor shortages in the near future, despite the rising need for healthcare providers.

“The healthcare workforce is burned out following a nearly two-year face-off against COVID-19,” said by John Derse, a healthcare industry leader at Mercer. “This impact will be felt by all of us, regardless of where we live or our field of work.”

Increasing Labor Shortages

9.7 million people are reportedly already working in the industry in low-paying positions like home health aides, according to the Mercer analysis. It is likely that demand will rise during the next five years. Less than 2 million people will replace the more than 6.5 million workers who leave during that time if things don’t change. By 2026, it is anticipated that California and New York will each lose 500,000 jobs, making them the two states expected to suffer the most. Based on this survey, these states could consider hiring across the country, especially from Georgia and Florida where there is a lower need for these professionals.

In the next years, family medicine is expected to have the highest number of physicians eligible for retirement. Mercer predicted that physician assistants and nurse practitioners would provide a constant stream of replacements to compensate for primary care physicians departing the sector.

States are Struggling

Simultaneously, the rate of physician retirement is likely to accelerate. By 2026, the proportion of physicians of retirement age will rise from 12% to 21%. Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Jersey are the Northeastern states which are most affected by these retirements.

As stated in the report, 29 states would be unable to meet demand for licensed nurses over the next five years, as more than 900,000 are likely to abandon their positions permanently. Pennsylvania and North Carolina are among the states that are likely to be severely hit. But, 21 other states, notably in the South, will have a surplus of talent.

Similarly to the projected registered nurse shortage, 27 states, including Massachusetts, Illinois, and Pennsylvania, will be unable to meet the employment need. Despite this, 23 states, including Washington and Texas, are likely to have surpluses.

Overall Decline in Healthcare Personnel

According to the study, the UK will confront a shortage of mental health experts as demand climbs 10% by 2026, while 400,000 professionals quit their jobs permanently.

Mercer advises businesses to start planning for these shortages immediately, using predictive analytics, for example. To help retain staff, the healthcare consultant suggests automating recruitment and onboarding to keep up with demand. Additionally, adapting pay and benefits to the demands of a younger workforce and enhancing workplace culture can help retain employees. Also, health organizations shouldn’t be hesitant to modify their service model. Changing to telemedicine or more neighborhood-based care to increase their financial value may be beneficial.

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Fierce Healthcare. (2021, September 30). Labor shortages in healthcare expected to rise as demand grows, report finds. Retrieved from