Five Trends to Watch in the Medical Staffing Industry

At this year’s Healthcare Staffing Summit, Barry Asin (EVP & Chief Analyst of Staffing Industry Analysts Inc.) shared five trends to watch in the healthcare staffing marketplace for the upcoming year.  We’ve decided to share his points with our readers:

  1. There’s a limited supply of practitioners, but there’s a modest increase in the number of nurses.  New grads, male nurses, foreign-born nurses and older workers who are interested in a career change.
  2. There’s ongoing growth and demand.  Since 1992, there has been a 50 percent increase in healthcare employment. 
  3. There’s a healthy competitive environment.  In 2006, 21 medical staffing agencies were over the $50 million mark, and 13 were over the $100 million mark, and the top ten firms owned 40 percent of the market.  There is a lot of growth in specialty industries such as radiology, pharmacy, CRNA and international recruiting, but nursing is still the largest.
  4. Regulations / government intervention is portrayed in a positive light because it helps with nurse-patient ratios, overtime restrictions, licensing, immigration reform and visa shortages.
  5. Technology trends are both good and bad.  About 12 percent of facilities have adopted a VMS and another 44 percent plan to adopt them in the future.  This is a slow train coming for the industry as a whole.  It’s only a matter of time before everyone’s using a VMS.  The internet has helped keep recruiting costs down with the rise in company web sites, job boards and the social networking.

In general Barry said that the public medical staffing company results were positive in the second quarter, and the trends are remaining very strong.  Net income and gross margins continue to grow.

Barry also mentioned that a good opportunity for medical staffing agencies is to look into non-healthcare-related positions within a hospital, which are usually filled by temporary workers. Examples of some of these positions include: janitors and cafeteria workers.