Heavy patient loads, smaller staffs and higher stress levels may be causing health care workers to check themselves out of their facilities. More than a third (34 percent) of health care workers plan to look for a new job in 2013, up from 24 percent last year. Nearly half (45 percent) plan to look for a new job over the next two years.
Eighty-two percent said that while they are not actively looking for a job today, they would be open to a new position if they came across the right opportunity.
This is according to CareerBuilder’s latest survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive between February 11 and March 6, 2013, among more than 500 U.S. health care workers and more than 240U.S. health care employers.
“Not only are health care organizations dealing with a shortage of high skill workers, they are facing higher demand fueled by an aging population and more Americans having access to medical benefits,” said Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare. “Nearly half—46 percent—of health care organizations said they have seen a negative impact on their organizations due to extended job vacancies. Long hours and juggling multiple patient needs are taking their toll on morale and retention. The survey shows health care workers are seeking a more manageable work experience.”
A tougher hiring situation can have a direct impact on patient care with current staff becoming more stressed as they cover positions open for extended periods of time. Sixty percent of health care workers say they are burned out on their jobs. Twenty-one percent always or often feel burned out. Of workers who feel always or often burned out, 67 percent plan to look for a new job this year.
Given heightened stress levels and workloads, health care employers said their top staffing challenge for 2013 was lifting employee morale (34 percent). This was followed by retaining top talent (33 percent), finding skilled workers (32 percent) and offering competitive compensation (30 percent).
More than one-third of health care employers (34 percent) said they currently have open positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates. Among large health care organizations with more than 50 employees, that number is 43 percent.
Looking at the key factors that can influence job satisfaction and retention, workers reported the following:
Pay – Seventy-five percent of health care workers say they do not earn their desired salary - with 29 percent saying not anywhere near it. While 44 percent of health care workers say they received a merit raise in 2012, 17 percent say they haven’t received one since before 2008.
Four in ten health care workers (41 percent) say they have not received a cost-of-living increase since before 2008.
Work/Life Balance – Eighteen percent of workers said they are dissatisfied with their work/life balance, and when asked what is preventing them from having a good work/life balance the highest percentage cited a workload that is too heavy (44 percent), followed by their employer’s unwillingness to provide flexible work schedules (21 percent).
Career Advancement – Nearly a quarter (24 percent) of health care workers are not satisfied with their career progress. A lack of upward mobility was also one of the top reasons why health care workers decided to look for employment opportunities.
Switching Industries – Nearly three in ten (29 percent) health care workers say they are currently trying to acquire skills in a new industry or field. Of these workers, 54 percent are going back to school, 18 percent are volunteering, and 7 percent are taking on temporary or contract work.
The survey also asked health care workers who planned to stay in their jobs what factors most compelled them not to leave their organizations. The number one factor health care workers pointed to was a sense of fulfillment.
I find my work satisfying and rewarding – 57 percent
I enjoy my colleagues – 54 percent
Location is ideal – 53 percent
Compensation, benefits and perks – 51 percent
Flexible work schedules – 44 percent
*From CareerBuilder’s November 2012 survey of more than 270 U.S. health care employers and more than 570 U.S. health care workers conducted online by Harris Interactive.