One consultant for physician integration and healthcare executive recruiting speculates that not only will job creation continue, but that there will also be a shift in the nature of those jobs.
"Jobs will continue to increase in healthcare—it's where those jobs are in healthcare is what's changing," says Christine Mackey-Ross, senior vice president and board secretary of Witt/Kieffer, an executive search firm.
"Especially since the two biggest expenses are the things you use to treat people and the people you use to deliver that care. On the inpatient side of healthcare we're going to see jobs continue to diminish. Until delivery systems learn how to be profitable or functional on whatever Medicare reimbursement rates are, we're going to see them adjust around things that are the most immediate ways to control costs, and the biggest one of that is obviously labor."
Trends in hiring on the executive level underscore the changing emphasis on productivity and efficiency, Mackey-Ross says. "In the past couple of years, we haven't had a client that at every level of the organization, when they're hiring an executive, [who] has not said 'Get me somebody who is familiar with improving systems and productivity.'"