On February 23, 2019, Modern Healthcare reported key takeaways from its “CEO Power Panel.” Of the 24 CEOs who completed the survey, only three (12.5 percent) responded that mergers and acquisitions “will be their primary growth strategy in 2019,” down from 25.8 percent of respondents in 2018. CEOs questioned whether organizations achieved any actual value in terms of cost savings or efficiencies when they merged, and cautioned against “getting big for big’s sake.”

At the same time, the CEOs reported a continued focus on hiring, in particular front-line staff. In comparison to 2018, 62.5 percent of respondents expect to hire the same amount or more employees. Some organizations reported shortages in terms of their staffing needs, and described the unemployment rate for qualified healthcare workers at “effectively zero.”

This is all consistent with the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ prediction that “[e]mployment of healthcare occupations is projected to grow 18 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 2.4 million new jobs. Healthcare occupations are projected to add more jobs than any of the other occupational groups.”

Almost 60 percent of the CEOs that Modern Healthcare surveyed selected “competition for talent” as their organization’s greatest challenge for 2019. It is clear that healthcare organizations—of all sizes—will need to continue focusing on attracting and retaining talent in 2019. Some CEOs reported that their organizations plan to focus on training their existing workforce to develop skills in newer technologies, such as AI, virtual reality, and 3-D printing. Continued training should help retain employees, but how should your organization set itself apart to attract talent in the first place? Please refer to our earlier post, which outlines helpful strategies to diversify and improve your healthcare workforce. For more information about how your organization can take a proactive approach regarding its diversity and inclusion performance, contact your Jackson Lewis attorney, or a member of the Corporate Diversity Counseling team.