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Why Medical Staffing is the Top Industry Sector


Staffing Industry Analysts recently released its list of the fastest growing staffing firms in the United States for 2017. When you look at the top ten on the list, one thing becomes abundantly clear—medical staffing is dominating.


Eight of the top ten are healthcare firms, yet only nine percent of all recruiters work in this sector. The industry is already in high demand and projected to experience tremendous growth. However, it begs the question of why this is happening now. What variables can account for these trends? As someone who has been in this industry for decades, I’ve observed various changes in healthcare that impact recruiting. This list outlines specific variables that have made medical staffing the top industry sector.


1. The locum tenens industry is booming. Over 90 percent of medical facilities use locum tenens providers. One reason for this is the healthcare industry’s high turnover rate, which is up to almost 20 percent—the second highest industry turnover rate behind hospitality. That on top of the general provider shortage can account for why locum tenens is so high in demand.


Medical recruiting companies that accommodate locum tenens providers are also booming. In fact, the majority (53.6 percent) of medical facilities who use locum tenens physicians will use two to three recruiting companies to find those candidates, and over 30 percent use four or more.


More physicians are opting for locum tenens assignments than ever before, and that trend has zero sign of slowing down. The number of locum tenens physicians has nearly doubled since 2002, as more providers have come to appreciate the added convenience, autonomy and flexibility these assignments offer.


2. The demand for highly skilled providers is strong. With the increasing bureaucratic and political burdens on the medical industry, compounded with the intense rising costs of providing healthcare to the masses, health systems are looking for the strongest talent possible to serve its patients.


As technology becomes more prominent in health systems that are looking to cut costs, the use of temporary providers becomes more economically viable than a permanent solution. With the efficiencies and strong outcomes that high level locum tenen providers bring, the more in-demand the service becomes. Health systems realize that by investing in the best, and not settling for average, they have to invest more. However, that’s what it takes to raise the level of excellence in outcomes per patient.


3. Robust healthcare staffing companies provide speed and accuracy. The average physician search takes 24 months to complete. The average locum tenen request to provider match is 14 days. The difference in cost between the two is staggering. Don’t get me wrong—permanently placed physicians within a health system are critical to its success, but it’s hard to ignore the speed and accuracy an agency can provide, especially when the need arises for a provider to be onsite and caring for patients within 60 to 90 days.


Clearly, the future looks bright for healthcare recruiting. Medical facilities will benefit too, as they’ll have the luxury of shopping around for the best staffing firms to use. With ever increasing options, it’s important for medical facilities to know which firm works best for them. There are many factors to consider—which I’ll be covering next week. Stay tuned.