It does not come as much of a surprise that U.S. healthcare organizations have struggled to attract and retain registered nurses and other critical-skill workers, but a new Watson Wyatt Worldwide study suggests that there has been minimal progress in the war for healthcare talent.
The study shows that more than two-thirds, or 69%, of the 110 healthcare providers surveyed reported having difficulty retaining critical-skill workers to a moderate or great extent. Across industries overall, only 43% of companies have similar retention problems.?
Retaining registered nurses is the most difficult staffing challenge facing healthcare providers, with 84% listing it among their top three staffing challenges, followed by pharmacists at 39% and rehab therapists at 33%.?
Stopping the Bleeding
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Why are people leaving healthcare? The study says voluntary turnover is hitting healthcare providers harder than other industries, with a median 14% voluntary turnover rate. They leave to relocate (47%), or because of lack of promotional opportunity (41%), or because of pay (33%).
Are healthcare organizations doing anything to reverse this problem? The survey shows that few employers are improving employee benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, or retiree medical benefits.
However, some healthcare organizations are adjusting pay levels, providing reimbursements and forgiving student loan payments, and implementing flexible work arrangements. Others are enhancing retirement benefit programs, with an improved match on retirement contributions.