We’re constantly bombarded with information about gen X, gen Y, and now gen Z in mainstream media. So much so that they are an obvious topic of discussion when it comes to planning a recruitment strategy. But there’s another generational business impact that’s coming in the next ten years: baby boomers. The retirement of baby boomers affects the workforce planning and forecasting in general, but it will have a particularly significant effect on the healthcare HR sector.

The Upcoming Baby Boomer Surge

By 2029, the number of Americans 65 or older will climb to more than 71 million; a 73 percent increase, according to Census Bureau. This means there will be more patients to care for than ever before, with more chronic illnesses. More patients will need more care, leading to the demand for in-home care or assisted living options.

Although people aged 65 and older represent only 12 percent of the population, the following depicts the portion of healthcare they account for:

  • 26% of physician office visits
  • 34% of prescriptions
  • 38% of emergency medical responses
  • 90% of nursing home use
  • 35% of hospital stays

USA Today’s The New Nursing Shortage further notes the importance of this issue.

A cohort of nurses entered the profession in the 1970s have aged into their 60s and are getting ready to retire.”

This means, between now and 2022, there will be around a half-million nurses needed to fill the positions of retired nurses.

Another critical aspect of nursing is the shortage of faculty at nursing schools.

“It’s tough to replace aging faculty at nursing schools with well-paid nurse practitioners and midwives. Taking teaching jobs over well-paying gigs at hospitals is a tough sell — the pay loss for many of the faculty would be as much as $20,000–$30,000 a year.

Robert Rosseter, from American Association of Colleges of Nursing, claims that almost 79,000 qualified applicants were turned away from nursing programs last year because of faculty shortages.

How RPO Can Help Healthcare HR Teams

A viable resource for healthcare HR departments to consider would be an RPO (recruitment process outsourcing) partner. RPO can take over the hiring functions of hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and clinics, from start to finish. RPOs work as an extension of the brand and healthcare institution, creating the seamlessness of having additional recruiters on-site with scalable functionality. With the focus on strategic talent acquisition, there’s more dedicated to networking and creative methods to find qualified candidates. This means more strategic sourcing, relationship-building, employment branding, and impacting hiring demands quickly.

Healthcare Talent Acquisition Strategies

Those who have experience in healthcare recruiting know that the strategy is unique. It’s not just about filling positions by finding resumes in the usual mainstream candidate sources. It’s about building relationships and offering assistance to candidates. Recruiting in healthcare also means having a sense of knowing what culture fits the organization and will increase patient satisfaction. Healthcare talent acquisition plans need to be different, and here’s how:

Build Partnerships with Colleges

In healthcare recruiting, specifically nursing, establishing relationships with colleges that offer RN programs is paramount. There is an extreme demand for nursing candidates, so recruiters need to get in front of future nurses in the infancy of their program, sometimes even within the first year, to be successful. Offering to help with interviewing skills, resume writing, and how to navigate niche job boards will show students that your employer is willing to provide valuable services. Students who will be future graduates two to four years down the road will remember this and will have your company top of mind. Their entire career is service-oriented, and they will remember when a company did the same, thus proving it has desirable values.

Know Your Specialties

In working with nurses, knowing the differences between a med-tele RN and a PCU RN is essential. Can a critical care RN do the same as a post-op RN? Knowing these specialties and how they can interchange will help you widen search efforts, which is necessary to get the largest candidate pool. Utilizing recruiters with experience recruiting these roles and/or who have worked the roles ensures recruitment efforts are targeting the appropriate people.

Utilize Cutting-Edge Technology.

There are a plethora of assessment options, and RPO partners are typically at the forefront of technologies. These assessments can be customized for nursing specialties, industry-specific, and behavioral, providing the best-rounded understanding of candidates being considered. Additionally, assessments come with features such as reference checking, which is essential for assessing the quality-of-hire. It’s important to select a vendor that best fits your organization’s hiring needs.

Develop Your Networks

Most nurses are found before they put themselves into a talent community. There will not be an excess of nurses on job boards like CareerBuilder/Indeed/ZipRecruiter to choose from, so passive candidate sourcing is an absolute must. Additionally, investing in niche nursing job boards, although sometimes a bit pricey, will prove to be a more valuable resource. Some such successful niche boards include Nursing Job Cafe, HEALTHeCAREERS, and Nurse Recruiter. Recruiters should also try going beyond job boards. They can implement social media recruitment, join in-person and online communities, and build relationships to secure candidate and/or employee referrals.

Gone are the days of posting positions on your company’s website and having an abundance of resumes to sort through. Healthcare companies especially will need to be proactive in their searches rather than reactive. Otherwise, they will lose candidates to organizations that have implemented aggressive direct sourcing strategies and lose high-level patient care due to understaffing.