Is Now the Time for a Breakout Quarter in Healthcare Hiring?

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , April 5, 2010

"My guess is we will see a lot more action this coming quarter and hopefully it will be positive. The larger elephant in the room is the general economy and who knows what impact that will have," he says.

What about all those "mass layoffs" affecting 50 or more hospital employees that we've been seeing in the first quarter?

"I think people have cut as much as they possibly can, and I can't imagine us continuing to see large-scale layoffs without hospitals closing their doors," Cherner says. "Hopefully, the volumes will pick up and there will be more cash flow and we know that the hiring environment is improving. It's still going to be a difficult year for new grads, but we are hearing anecdotally, from folks that they are planning to hire more new grads this year than they did last year, which is very positive."

Here's my take: I believe the healthcare sector is reacting like every other sector, and every other person. Everybody is waiting to see if the economic recovery is for real, or if there is a double-dip recession lurking out there. We are seeing the same thing with individuals and the housing market. Interest rates are low, there are plenty of houses available going at 20th Century prices. But nobody's buying. That's because we still don't know if housing prices will continue to drop.

We will see a continued upswing in healthcare sector hiring, maybe even a very strong uptick during the current quarter. Yes, there is a lot of anxiety out there, and deservedly so. But the demand for healthcare workers is real, and won't go away—no matter the shape of the economy. Our nation's aging demographics don't lie.

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John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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