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The 10 Hardest-to-Fill Health Care Jobs of Tomorrow

The struggle to fill health care jobs is an ongoing battle for recruiters and hiring managers in the health care industry. Sixty percent of employers say the inability to fill health care jobs has had a negative financial impact, and 20 percent feel they lack the resources necessary to deal with the demands of an aging population shift.

In effort to shed light on the growing health care skills gap, CareerBuilder used data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl. (EMSI) to compile a list of health care jobs projected to have the greatest gap in employment to job openings from now until 2018.

Top 10 Health Care Occupations With Worker Shortages (2013-2018)

HC occupations greatest shortage

As you can see in the above table, registered nurses (RNs) are projected to be the most difficult position to fill by far. With an employment gap of 264,683, the need for RNs will be more than double that of licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses, which are second on this list, with a gap of 106,416. Nursing assistants, home health aides and medical assistants round out the top five spots. Inversely, the occupations with the smallest gap will be audiologists, genetic counselors and prosthodontists.

Because RNs showed the largest gap in available workers, we wanted to dig deeper and take a look at which metro areas have the most need for these professionals.

U.S. Metro Areas with the greatest Shortage of RNs (2013-2018)

metros with greatest RN shortage

New York City came in first with a shortage of over 15,000 RNs.  This number is nearly double that of each of the next largest metro areas, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Though not listed above, Vicksburg, Miss., Hot Springs, Ark. and Springfield, Ohio are the few metros with a surplus of RNs.

Given that recruiting RNs in New York City could be difficult five years from now, employers might want to consider partnering with colleges and institutions to get in front of future graduates now and stay ahead of the curve. Creating a pipeline of nursing candidates will be beneficial in the future for maintaining adequate staff.

Registered Nurse Graduates in New York City (2003-2012)

RN grads in NYC

In 2012, New York City produced 8,245 registered nurses across 67 institutions. The number of students graduating with nursing degrees has more than doubled since 2003 and that trend is expected to continue. Columbia University in the New York, Suffolk County Community College and Adelphi University are the institutions that graduate the most RNs in the metro area.  Companies recruiting for RNs should consider partnering with these three schools to create a steady pipeline of graduates that could prove to be highly valuable in the long term.

Learn about the current state of health care in the U.S. and what a health care staffing shortage means for your organization at The Care Crunch: 2013 Health Care Trends.

Bob Nelson

About Bob Nelson

As an Analyst for CareerBuilder’s Workforce Analytics Team, Bob Nelson specializes in researching and reporting on the labor market. He provides insight into trends regarding recruitment, talent supply and demand, and candidate demographics in order to drive growth of CareerBuilder’s data portals. He works closely with CareerBuilder's business development team and the sales force to answer pivotal business questions for clients.


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  3. […] have the most difficulty attracting experienced nurses, but recruiting challenges exist everywhere. CareerBuilder says the New York City metro area will have a shortage of 15,000 RNs in the next four […]

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