How Much Does Compensation Matter When Recruiting Healthcare Talent?

September 24, 2019

At the core of any organization is its people – they’re the ones creating, communicating, sharing and nurturing the value that your business gives to the world and without your people, your business would be able to offer….well, nothing! In no other industry is this more true than in healthcare, as it’s the industry that is most dependent on its employees to operate.

With that in mind, the fact that there is a significant and fast growing healthcare talent shortage should be very alarming to healthcare business leaders. Researchers forecast a shortage of 40,800 to 104,900 physicians in the U.S. by 2030, according to a recent study by the Association of American Medical Colleges. The number of medical specialists and primary care physicians is simply not keeping up with increasing demand to provide service to the growing population of aging individuals.

This has all sorts of impact on healthcare hiring and while we’d love to break down all of the strategies that might help healthcare talent acquisition teams, we’d like to focus on one thing: compensation.

Using compensation to attract healthcare talent

It seems obvious that compensation is an important factor for driving interest among job candidates, but in case you needed some evidence here it is: compensation is one of the three top drivers for employee satisfaction. Most healthcare employees are taking this to heart too, as 3 out of 5 healthcare talent leaders expect retirement savings and planning (and) financial benefits to increase in importance to recruit highly skilled employees, as reported by Society for Human Resource Management in its 2016 Strategic Benefits survey findings.

So what’s a straightforward way for healthcare companies to act on this information?

To start, get familiar with the expected pay ranges for each role that you’re looking to fill and do everything you can to budget on the upper end for the roles you’re most urgently in need of filling. For some perspective, the median annual wage for healthcare professionals reached $66,440 in 2019, as compared to the annual median wage for other occupations at $48,640. At the low end, median pay is about $24,060 for home health aids, while registered nurses earn $71,730, pharmacists make $126,120 while physicians and surgeons earn a median wage of at least $208,00 per year.


When compensation isn’t negotiable

If your organization can’t budge on the compensation budget, you’ll need to consider what other things will matter when recruiting healthcare talent.

For example, you may provide a flexible environment in which they can stretch their wings and make the most of their talents. The culture and team environment that you establish and maintain can also go a long way toward encouraging medical professionals to join your team. Here are some specific questions to ask yourself to guide your thinking (and put yourself in your candidates’ shoes):

How flexible is your organization about work schedules?

To prevent burnout, you can make it easier for employees such as nurses to meet their obligations at home (such as picking up kids from school) without having to put in excessive overtime. Reduced stress because of a more family-friendly work schedule can go a long way toward attracting talent.

How easy is it to advance within your organization?

If your hospital shows a clear opportunity to grow, such as from nurse’s assistant to registered nurse or if there are a number of specialties to transfer to, you have an edge over hospitals with less flexibility.

Is your culture a nurturing and healthy environment, where learning and initiative are encouraged and people are fairly recognized for their work?

Opportunities to learn, recognition for their hard work and a healthy team environment are all things that healthcare talent care about. And if you want to be totally sure about whether these are the things that your employees would care about, anonymous feedback forms are a really effective way to uncover what your employees like about working at your company and what they’d change about it.


While earning a decent living is going to be a major motivation for people seeking employment in healthcare, there are clearly other benefits to keep in mind when mounting a new recruitment effort. Money is not always going to be the deciding factor for recruits thinking about accepting your job offer. They will want to see that they can balance life and work in your organization as well. If you offer a workplace environment where talent feels truly appreciated and can envision growth and advancement, you’ll have a good chance at remaining competitive.


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Linda Le Phan
Senior Content Marketing Manager at kununu.

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