Rachel Polhemus, a senior partner at the executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, says that while overall healthcare hiring is slowing, the competition for executive leadership remains strong, especially as a generation of senior healthcare executives can afford to contemplate retirement.
"There was a period of time when in 2008 and 2009 and the market dipped and instead of retirements occurring, folks stayed on the job and decided not to retire and really to focus on rebuilding their nest eggs," she says. "We have seen retirements happening because those nest eggs have been rebuilt and there are folks who are much more comfortable about retiring at this point."
She says new leadership roles are being created as well as healthcare organizations learn to adapt to consolidations and restructuring.
"Much of it surrounds these physician enterprises that are being formed, with organizations employing physicians and they've had to create new leadership teams to support that," she says. "You are seeing many times the leadership in dual relationship with a physician executive and an administrator who focuses on the operations of that infrastructure."
Polhemus says the slow hospital job growth underscores a new focus away from bricks and mortar.
"It's more external," she says. "There is a big shift focusing on the post-acute world and building organizations developing post-acute care practices."