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The Skills Gap in Healthcare
That's Increasing Recruitment Costs by 150%.

  • 05.31.2019

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  • Zachery Tweddell

With unemployment at 3.8% and the addition of 196,000 jobs in March, it goes without saying that it’s important to retain top employees.

The reality, however, is that the need exists more prominently in some industries. Here, we examine where a gap in skills increases the need for retention and discuss how employers can help close the gap in other ways. Let’s start with a misconception:


An overwhelming skills gap exists in the technology industry due to the introduction of new tech.



According to Indeed’s hiring data on job postings and job seeker resumes from 2014 to 2018, “the mix of tech job postings has actually been changing more slowly than the mix of job postings in the economy overall. The overall job postings on Indeed were 25% different in 2018 than 2014, but tech job postings were only 18% different.”


So, if the skills gap is not as prominent as we might think in the tech industry, where does it truly exist? One industry is healthcare. Indeed’s hiring data indicates there is a significant mismatch between the jobs employers are looking to fill and the jobs most frequently searched by candidates. Here’s an example of exactly what that looked like in December 2018 vs. December 2014.

Now for the million or even billion dollar question. What can you do about it?

Fist and foremost, develop an understanding of how much it’s hurting you. Our Nurse Vacancy Calculator can help with that. Once armed with that information, the answer is more straightforward than you might imagine.



The two most important down-funnel metrics to measure in programmatic campaigns are qualified applications and hires. From these values, we can use campaign spend numbers to determine the cost-per-qualified-application and cost-per-hire at various levels (client, campaign, publisher, job, city, etc.).

While these metrics are nothing new to recruitment marketing, breakthroughs in programmatic technology allow marketers to act upon these measurements and optimize campaigns in ways that were not previously possible. Programmatic traders are now able to work with your organization to collect qualified applicant data (based on your definition of quality) as well as real-time hire data to make campaign improvements in-flight. For the full article on using down-funnel metrics, click here.



Consider implementing tuition reimbursement programs and incentivizing current employees to further their education in areas that will benefit the organization. Additionally, the federal tax code allows companies to deduct tuition reimbursements up to $5,250 per employee each year.

An extreme – and excellent – example of investing in employees is Collins Aerospace’s Employee Scholar Program. Collins Aerospace believes that individual and corporate success is driven by lifelong learning. So the organization established the Employee Scholar Program, which offers to pay all tuition, fees, and books at approved institutions for UTC’s (Collins Aerospace’s) global workforce for an unlimited number of degrees. Yes. You read that right. Since implementing this program in 1996, UTC (Collins Aerospace) has invested more than $1.3 billion to further their workforce’s education and helped employees in 60 countries earn more than 40,000 degrees.

Of course, not every company can afford to pour those kinds of resources into employee investment. However, their example can inspire deep thinking about the ways in which you could push your own boundaries. The effort is certainly worth your time.



Programs focused on filling skill gaps has multiple benefits. Members of the Millennial generation as well as Generation Z both list career growth as a top five reason to take a job. By laying out a clear path for development and growth, you immediately become more attractive as an employer, while also helping to address the skills gap.

Do you have a clear path for your onboarding processes? What about additional training and learning opportunities once an employee is settled in? You could offer a tutorial in basic HTML coding for any curious employee. Any number of similar – and basic – topics like this could keep an employee engaged and growing.

While putting many of these programs or solutions in place seems straightforward, the communication of them is where they will succeed or fail. In a market as competitive as healthcare, your value proposition to candidates has to be something that authentic, attractive, differentiated, credible, and sustainable with an eye on a high-performing roadmap for activation. We’ve seen overwhelming success in applying this strategy to our current healthcare clients.


Would you like more insight into the potential ROI for your organization?
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