According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the healthcare sector has lost almost half a million workers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. That amounts to about one in five healthcare workers.

And according to Morning Consult, almost one-third (31%) of healthcare workers still on the job have considered leaving their employer1.

Most employers blame the pandemic. But is that the only reason?

Why Are Healthcare Workers Leaving?

You would not be wrong if you believe that your employees are leaving the healthcare space due to the pandemic. However, you would also not be entirely right.

The Morning Consult survey found that there were several reasons behind the resignations.

reasons why medial workers quit or were laid off in 2020Image Source: Morning Consult1

As expected, the pandemic was the top reason (54%) for leaving the medical field. However, financial reasons tied for both second and third place, with half of those leaving stating their departure had to do with wanting better pay, better benefits, or a better opportunities.

Growth Despite Exodus

Before the pandemic, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics projected healthcare occupations to grow by 16% between 2020 to 2030 – faster than any other occupation.

Even with the mass exodus, BLS has not updated the prediction of an additional 2.6 million jobs in the field2.

The reason for this increase is simple. Healthcare continues to grow because the population continues to age.

Census data shows that there are currently 46 million adults over 65. This will increase to 64 million by 2030 and 90 million by 20503.

As the population continues to age and lifespan continues to increase, the demand for healthcare services will naturally increase as well.

For employers, hiring staff will be the easy part as students come out of colleges and programs looking for employment. The difficult part will be actually retaining them once hired. 

Financial Benefits Make a Difference

There's not much healthcare employers can do about the effects of the pandemic on the stress of healthcare workers or the supply chain issues.

However, there is a lot that can be done to improve the financial reasons many employees have for changing employers or leaving the industry altogether.

According to an ADP fact sheet4, most employees with high benefits satisfaction also ranked job satisfaction as high. So helping employees gain benefits satisfaction may be key. Here are three things to consider. 

  1. Automatically enroll employees in benefits. Three out of five healthcare industry retirement plans do not offer automatic enrollment. When employees state they want better benefits, they may be unaware of the benefits they are already entitled to or that they find it too difficult to figure out the benefits package. Automatic enrollment is a proven and effective way to increase retirement plan participation.
  2. Be wise about investment decisions. According to ADP, about three out of ten plans do not use a plan advisor. Of those that do, about a third use 3(21) fiduciaries, which are just advisors, leaving the final decisions up to you – the employer. As a fiduciary, you are in charge of your plan’s fund lineup, monitoring investment performance, running benchmarks for fees, and more. In other words, it is your responsibility to perform the necessary due diligence so that the fund operates as it should and provides appropriate options for your employees.
  3. Offer a financial wellness program. Studies show that your employees are struggling. TIAA5 found that 46% of healthcare workers feel their financial condition has worsened over the past year. Additionally, 33% have dipped into their emergency savings, 84% carry debt, nearly half say they are debt-constrained, and 12% have missed or made late loan payments. The same study found that 70% of employees want help from their employer to become financially healthy – including access to financial education and resources, budgeting, retirement planning, coaching, and more.

Offering these financial benefits can help your employees achieve financial wellness, which, in turn, will help them feel better about their employment situation. To learn how Enrich can help you attract and retain healthcare workers and create a thriving workplace.


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