On Sept. 30, Mercer, an asset management firm headquartered in New York City, released a report entitled “The 2021 Healthcare Labor Market Analysis.” A press release on the report states that “The healthcare workforce is burned-out and traumatized following a nearly two-year face-off against COVID-19. Healthcare workers are—and will continue to be—in high demand—and labor supply is not keeping up. Even before COVID-19, the U.S. healthcare labor market faced remarkable challenges and while labor shortages in the U.S. are widespread, significant deficits in healthcare talent will have an impact on all of us." According to the report, “About 9.7 million individuals currently work in critical, albeit lower-wage, healthcare occupations (e.g., medical assistants, home health aides, and nursing assistants). The need for these workers will grow over the next five years to around 10.7 million.” The report goes on to explain that if trends U.S. do not change, more than 6.5 million individuals will leave these jobs permanently within five years and only 1.9 million will take their positions. This adds up to a significant shortage of critical healthcare labor in the U.S.—3.2 million workers short within five years. Other key highlights from the report include: Sixty-four percent of healthcare professionals said better flexibility and work-life balance are key considerations that would attract them to a new employer Two in five workers said they would leave their company if they were not compensated fairly today Eighty-seven percent of respondents say that better pay and benefits would attract them to a new employer New York and California are each projected to fall short by 500,000 healthcare workers as early as 2026, driven by workers who decide to permanently leave their career in healthcare—with 1.6 million leaving for good in the next five years Currently, 12 percent of family medicine, pediatric, and obstetrics and gynecology physicians are 65 years of age or older, by 2026 that number will grow to 21 percent Demand for primary care physicians will grow by four percent over the next five years By 2026, it is projected that 23,000 primary care physicians will leave the profession permanently Over 3 million individuals work as registered nurses in the U.S., and the demand for nurses is estimated to grow by at least five percent over the next five years In the next five years, 900,000 nurses are projected to permanently leave the profession Employers will need to hire 1.1 million nurses by 2026 If current nursing trends do not change, 29 states will not be able to keep up with demand and will be short approximately 100,000 nurses in the next five years The release on the report states that “Shortages in healthcare talent will impact all of us. Every state is different, and every healthcare system should assess how these anticipated labor market projections will ultimately affect workforce strategies and patients’ outcomes in the coming years.” Mercer examined the healthcare labor markets over the next five to 10 years in all 50 states—at county, state, regional, and national levels. Based on research from Mercer, publicly available data, and data provided by Mercer’s partner Emsi, Mercer created various metrics around labor supply, labor demand, retirement risk, and other demographic factors related to evaluating and projecting labor conditions in the future.
This article originally appeared at https://www.hcinnovationgroup.com/policy-value-based-care/news/21241090/mercer-report-healthcare-labor-shortage-will-continue-to-grow