Hospitals Losing Workers as Healthcare Jobs Grow

Chelsea Rice, October 22, 2012

The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics contains good news for healthcare. The industry is continuing to hire, to the tune of over 43,000 new jobs last month. But a report on the effectiveness of those hires should have hospitals and health systems thinking about employee retention.

As more jobs become available, hospital employees are seeing more opportunities to jump ship.

Hospitals are seeing that the quality of their hires has weakened and voluntary turnover rates are increasing according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Saratoga 2012/2013 US Human Capital Effectiveness Report, released this month.  

Using data collected in 2011 from over 50 hospitals from all the regions of the United States, the hospital sector report represents over a million hospital employees and more than 175,000 bedside nurses.

With nurses representing such a huge part of the delivery of that care, the upward trends PwC Saratoga reports in turnover of nurses and hospital employees should concern hospitals that are trying to improve the quality of their patient care and improve labor efficiency.

First-year turnover is not only higher in the hospital sector (28.3%) than for the rest of U.S. industries (21.5%), but it is increasing. Bedside nurses were highlighted in the report—22.2% of first year bedside nurses leave after their first year of working in a hospital.

And it is costly. According to the PwC Saratoga report, compared with the past two years, hospitals are losing high performers and employees in key/pivotal roles at increasing rates. The cost of turnover, the report calculates, is 1.5 times the projected base salary for departing exempt employees and .5 times the projected base salary for nonexempt employees.


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