Revolutionizing Healthcare Staffing: The RPO Advantage

Revolutionizing Healthcare Staffing: The RPO Advantage

Attracting and retaining top talent is a massive challenge in today’s competitive healthcare landscape. Unlike other sectors, a miscalculation in hiring the wrong candidates can have severe consequences for patients.

That’s where Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) comes in.

In this ebook, Revolutionizing Healthcare Staffing: The RPO Advantage, you’ll discover how RPO can revolutionize your healthcare organization’s talent acquisition strategy. We’ll explore:

  • The unique hiring challenges facing the healthcare industry and how RPO addresses them head-on
  • The benefits of partnering with an RPO provider, from cost savings to improved candidate quality
  • Real-world case studies showcasing RPO’s impact in healthcare settings

Join the growing number of forward-thinking healthcare talent acquisition and HR leaders who have partnered with RPO providers to stay ahead of the competition. Download our ebook today!

PeopleScout Recruiter On-Demand™ for Healthcare

PeopleScout Recruiter On-Demand™ for Healthcare

If your organization is struggling to recruit among the healthcare talent shortage or your internal recruiting resources are stretched thin, Recruiter On-Demand™ is a project-based recruitment solution that can drastically improve your

Download this fact sheet to learn more.

Learn more about PeopleScout’s healthcare talent solutions.

Dig into More Healthcare Talent Insights

Healthcare RPO: What to Expect from Your Prospective Partner

Healthcare RPO: What to Expect from Your Prospective Partner

What to expect for your healthcare RPO partnership.

Skills Shortage in Healthcare: Tackling the Lack of Healthcare Professionals

Skills Shortage in Healthcare: Tackling the Lack of Healthcare Professionals

Tips to tackle the skills shortage in healthcare

Recruiting Registered Nurses for Aged Care

Recruiting Registered Nurses for Aged Care

Aged Care Recruitment

Recruiting Registered Nurses for Aged Care

An Australian aged care provider needed to source critical healthcare roles in their most hard-to-fill locations. PeopleScout’s sourcing expertise and EVP insights helped them exceed their targets in one of the tightest candidate markets in memory.

600 + candidates screened
0 drop outs occured across the entire recruitment process
4 months to fill critical vacancies


The client is one of Australia’s largest aged care operators, with 72 residential aged care homes in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, Australia. The aged care sector in Australia is suffering from a major skills shortage as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, international border closures and a large number of workers leaving the sector.

The aged care provider turned to PeopleScout for project recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) to support the recruitment of registered nurses and support staff across a number of critical locations where they were getting little to no response to their vacancies. 


Two senior recruitment business partners supported the client across five locations who drove passive and active recruitment for registered nurses and aged care workers. PeopleScout researched the client’s target market to understand what motivates workers in the healthcare sector to accept a role. Following this, our team provided recommendations on the lifestyle bonuses they could offer as incentives for workers to travel to their locations. We also coached the client on how to boost their employer brand to raise awareness of their opportunities, which has delivered a long-term impact within a challenging market.


PeopleScout worked within the aged care provider’s existing ATS system and screened over 600 candidates. We were able to speed up the process for successful candidates and in a number of locations achieved zero dropouts throughout the screening and background check process.

Over a 4-month period, our team placed 14 permanent positions across:

  • Registered Nurses
  • Personal Care Workers
  • Hospitality Support

With a large worker exodus across the sector, recruitment in the aged care sector in Australia is still an ongoing challenge. However, PeopleScout has proven our ability to make a significant impact in a short period of time.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Aged care provider
  • INDUSTRY: Healthcare
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Talent Advisory
  • ABOUT THE CLIENT: This healthcare provider manages 72 residential aged care homes across Australia, supporting over 8,000 residents and their families at an important time in their lives.

Healthcare RPO: What to Expect from Your Prospective Partner

For most healthcare organizations, staffing is a major operational challenge. During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 100,000 registered nurses left the field, and even several years laters, almost 800,000 nurses intend to leave the workforce by 2027 because of stress, burnout or retirement. These healthcare talent shortages and increased competition necessitate a more robust talent acquisition strategy. To overcome recruiting roadblocks, healthcare organizations can partner with a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) partner to supplement internal recruiting teams and create sustainable talent acquisition strategies. When implemented correctly, a healthcare RPO program enhances recruiting effectiveness, attracts top talent and reduces cost, providing healthcare organizations with a competitive advantage.

In this post, we highlight six things healthcare organizations should expect from an RPO partnership.

What to Expect From Your Healthcare RPO Partnership

When you enter into an RPO partnership, you will find that a successful relationship is based on collaboration between your RPO provider and internal team, who need to work together to make the engagement a success.

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How RPO Can Solve The Top Challenges In Healthcare Talent Acquisition

Expect Seamless Integration Between Your Healthcare RPO & Internal Recruiting Teams

An ideal RPO partner should have a well-developed practice for integrating into a client’s organization and working with a client’s recruiters, hiring managers and leadership teams. During the implementation process, your healthcare RPO partner should conduct a needs assessment to understand your healthcare recruiting requirements. They will then develop a custom solution that meets the needs of your organization and business model.

Engaging an RPO partner is an opportunity to create change in the way you recruit talent across your organization. Changes in the recruiting process can include training hiring managers to be better interviewers, implementing new recruiting technology tools and establishing a unified message and employer brand.

This is the time to take the recruiting process seriously and bring attention to it internally. Your RPO partner will work with you to be an agent of change in your organization in order to successfully implement new tools and processes.

Expect Value-Added Recruiting Functions

As talent acquisition becomes more sophisticated, organizations are looking for additional services from an RPO partner such as employer branding capabilities, advanced analytics and new technology. When considering healthcare RPO partners, look for capabilities that will add value while improving your recruiting processes.

For instance, if your organization is anticipating a merger and requires a solution to swiftly ramp up your current healthcare workforce, talent acquisition services such as social media sourcing, video interviewing and recruitment marketing provide additional value by improving the candidate experience and your position in the talent market.

To determine which value-added services would most benefit you, audit your current recruiting processes and performance to identify where your in-house teams excel and where outside expertise can make a positive impact.

Expect In-Depth Program Analysis and Reporting

You should expect that your RPO partner will provide you with a complete analysis of your healthcare recruitment processes’ strengths, weaknesses and challenges.

This assessment should include:

  • Detailed process mapping before, during, and after implementation
  • Understanding gaps and opportunities within your program
  • Visibility into real-time workforce data and analytics

From this deep-dive, your RPO partner should develop customized solutions for your immediate and long-term talent needs and consult with stakeholders on ways to improve your program.

Recruiting metrics and analytics are powerful tools. When an RPO partner dives into the data, they can provide guidance on big and small recruitment changes that will lead to improved hiring metrics.

Expect Accountability and Transparency

Accountability and transparency are key factors in a successful RPO partnership. As the client, you should be able to ask your RPO partner any question you can conceive of, and in turn, your RPO partner should be able to provide you with satisfactory answers.

To ensure accountability, your RPO provider should work with you to establish mutually agreed upon Service Level Agreements (SLAs). SLAs should be established during the partner selection process, and their governance should be clearly outlined during contract negotiations.

SLAs establish how you and your RPO provider will work together and can cover items like terms, liability, billing and payment, confidentiality, solicitation, insurance, warranties and employment relationships.

Before you draft SLAs, you need to assess your recruitment performance prior to working with your RPO partner. This can prove challenging, especially if your internal recruitment processes do not track and benchmark data. If you do not have benchmarks, your healthcare RPO provider should be able to provide benchmarking data based on their work with other clients in the healthcare space.

When setting up SLAs, make sure they are realistic, achievable and meet your organization’s recruiting needs. RPO SLAs often include the following metrics:

  • Time-to-fill: Time-to-fill measures how long it takes recruiters to fill an open role.
  • Hiring manager satisfaction: You can measure hiring manager satisfaction through a survey, for example.
  • Candidate experience and satisfaction: You can conduct surveys with every candidate, not just ones who are hired, to better understand the impact of your candidate experience.
  • Interview-to-offer ratio: This metric is the ratio of the number of interviews to the number of candidates that are given an offer and can help determine the quality of candidates.
  • Diversity of candidate: This is the percentage of candidates considered or self-identified as “diverse,” and can be used to track different groups of candidates like women or veterans.

The right mix of service-level controls can help ensure a successful partnership.

Expect to Be Supplied with References

You would not hire a doctor or nurse without checking their references, and the same applies when partnering with an RPO provider. An RPO partner can always tell you about their solutions, skills and expertise. However, to get a real sense of an RPO partner’s true capabilities, you need to speak to their clients and hear success stories directly.

You should receive references from organizations that the RPO partner has worked with, ideally in the healthcare space, that have dealt with similar challenges as you, so you can really understand how the RPO has delivered effective solutions in the past. For example, if your organization is having a difficult time sourcing healthcare talent in a rural community, your RPO partner should provide you with a reference that illustrates their ability to source candidates in lean talent markets.

Expect Effective Recruiting Technology

Your RPO partner should be deploying the most current and best-in-class recruiting technologies to access and leverage data, attract and source candidates, automate recruiting processes, and screen and shortlist candidates. For instance, an RPO partner equipped with an experienced team of recruiters trained in using advanced tools and resources can use AI and predictive analytics to quickly find candidates with the skills and qualifications you’re looking for.

The right talent acquisition technology tool can also help provide a superior candidate experience, including:

  • AI-enabled sourcing tools help recruiters find the best candidates faster.
  • A streamlined application process can allow candidates apply with just one click.
  • Personalized recruitment marketing tools like chatbots, SMS messages, email campaigns and individualized landing pages provide candidates with the consumer-like experience they have come to expect online.

Healthcare RPO partners should also be able to help you quickly implement the best recruiting technologies into your talent acquisition program that can save both time and money.

Healthcare RPO from PeopleScout

Selecting the right RPO partner is a big decision for any healthcare organization and outsourcing recruitment processes can have a tremendous business impact. Your healthcare RPO partner should possess the ability to understand the capabilities and reach of the latest emerging talent tools can provide both significant costs savings and a competitive advantage and provide you access to talent, quality of hires, process efficiencies and workforce management support.

Learn more about PeopleScout’s healthcare RPO serivces by connecting with one of experts.

Talent Insights Inform Search for Executive Leader for Healthcare System

Talent Insights Inform Search for Executive Leader for Healthcare System

Healthcare Recruiting

Talent Insights Inform Search for Executive Leader for Healthcare System

A non-profit healthcare system engaged their RPO partner, PeopleScout, for talent insights to boost their search for a highly competitive new Chief Analytics Officer.


A non-profit healthcare network was seeking a Chief Analytics Officer based in a large city in the United States where they’re headquartered. Other requirements for the role included experience in AI and data management platforms.  

They had engaged an executive search firm but weren’t seeing results. As their long-term healthcare RPO partner, PeopleScout’s dedicated talent advisory practice stepped in to provide the healthcare provider with an in-depth analysis of the talent market to support a more targeted search. 


The PeopleScout Talent Advisory team worked with the client to define the most pertinent job characteristics and review job skills and compensation. This ensured that the role was aligned with the capabilities in AI and data management that the client required.  

Our analysis focused on the talent market in their required location to show the size of the talent pool that possessed their required skills. We were able to determine that there were less than 10 potential candidates based in that city that had all the skills they were looking for. The report we produced showed how adjusting their requirements would affect the size of the available talent pool.  

Here’s what we found: 

  • We identified candidates living in other cities that were currently commuting large distances during the week for work. This helped the client see if they relaxed their location requirement or were open to a flexible work arrangement (i.e., two-weeks working in the city, two-weeks working at home), they could grow their talent pool significantly. 
  • We uncovered a pattern that most people in similar roles had a tenure of approximately two to three years before switching jobs, usually after delivering a data transformation project. We advised the client that people who were only a year to 18 months into their current role may be less interested in switching. The optimum level of two to three years of tenure would make candidates more open to moving. 
  • We noticed a pattern that many people with the relevant skills were working as independent consultants. This revealed an additional pool of candidates who might be interested in going back to full-time work which the client hadn’t considered.  
  • We also found that many of the qualified candidates worked in financial services and might be receiving salaries on the high end of the spectrum. This helped the client reset expectations around the compensation range in order to secure the right person for the role.  


The talent insights we shared showed the client that flexing their requirements for the position could expand the talent pool in different ways. This data helped the healthcare company to make more informed decisions about the sourcing strategy for their new Chief Analytics Officer. 

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Healthcare Network
  • INDUSTRY: Healthcare
  • ABOUT THE CLIENT: The client is an American non-profit healthcare company and integrated delivery network.

Securing Software Engineers for a Healthcare Tech Pioneer

Securing Software Engineers for a Healthcare Tech Pioneer

Tech Recruiting in Healthcare

Securing Software Engineers for a Healthcare Tech Pioneer

A global healthcare technology company turned to PeopleScout to find much-needed tech talent to grow their healthcare data and analytics services.

97 % Offer Acceptance Rate
Implemented SMS Text Screening
Implemented SMS Text Screening
20 % Exceeded Submittal-to-Interview Ratio Goal by 20%


A healthcare technology company approached PeopleScout to help with their hard-to-fill software engineering and niche technology positions. With demand for tech and digital skills on the rise across all industries, the client was struggling to fuel their business growth.  


PeopleScout implemented a partial-cycle recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) program for the client. Our dedicated delivery team consisted of tenured recruiters who had at least five years of software engineering recruitment experience. We established a multi-channel sourcing process, screening, scheduling interviews and completing the hiring process for the client.  

The PeopleScout RPO team partnered closely with hiring managers to brainstorm creative solutions to particularly hard-to-fill roles and to provide talent intelligence and detailed compensation information that they could take back to their leadership. 

We also implemented new technology that allowed us to screen candidates via two-way SMS texting to speed up screening time, improve candidate engagement and reduce fallout. Hiring manager surveys were also rolled out to gain more feedback, and reporting and analytics were set up to measure SLAs. 


PeopleScout effectively hired candidates for the organization’s niche technology roles, while exceeding time to fill expectations. Our recruiters thoroughly sourced against the role requirements, assuring candidates met the client’s standards. As a result, 77% of hires made were externally sourced candidates, and we increased the submittal to interview ratio to 54%, exceeding our target by over 20%. The offer-acceptance rate grew to 97%, well above the industry average of 70%.  

Following this success, the RPO program expanded from roles within the U.S. to also cover recruiting tech roles in the UK and Ireland. 

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Healthcare technology company
  • INDUSTRY: Technology
  • PEOPLESCOUT SOLUTIONS: Recruitment Process Outsourcing, Affinix
  • LOCATIONS: U.S., expanding to UK and Ireland
  • ABOUT THE CLIENT: This healthcare technology company provides data, analytics and software for healthcare and government social services. The organization works with healthcare providers, health plans, governments and life sciences companies to get more from their health data, using artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud computing and other advanced information technology.

Healthcare Talent Shortage: Changing Demographics, Growing Demand & Shifting Skills

As the world of work transforms, the healthcare industry is at the epicenter of change. The industry is growing rapidly and facing a healthcare talent shortage and skills gaps. At the same time, the accelerating pace of medical and technological advancements means medical professionals must constantly adapt to new breakthroughs and changing expectations. Talent acquisition and HR professionals need to be ready to meet the growing challenge. To do so, they must understand the full picture of the healthcare talent landscape.

Is a Generational Change Creating a Healthcare Talent Shortage?

The industry is facing challenges in both supply and demand. Hospitals and Health Networks magazine calls the generational change “the most powerful force operating in our health system right now.”

On the supply side, the baby boomer generation is reaching retirement age, and according to Becker’s Hospital Review, one-third of practicing physicians are more than 55-years old and nearing retirement. Replacing doctors and surgeons who have decades of experience is challenging, as those earlier in their careers lack the years of training, education and on-the-job hours. The next generation in the workforce, Generation X, is relatively small. While the millennial generation is the largest generation in the workforce, the oldest millennials are nearly 40 years old, and some of Gen Z are too young even to start medical school. As baby boomers retire, these generations will have to fill that gap.

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How RPO Can Solve The Top Challenges In Healthcare Talent Acquisition

On the other side of this equation, the overall population is aging, with 10,000 Americans turn 65-years-old every day. Caring for an aging population will require even more healthcare professionals.

As baby boomers age, the demand for healthcare is increasing, including home health services, long-term and aged care. Chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer are becoming more common with nearly half of the American population suffering from a chronic illness. According to a study JAMA Internal Medicine, , baby boomers have a longer lifespan but higher rates of hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. This means the largest generation to reach retirement age will likely also need more healthcare than any previous generation

The Healthcare Talent Shortage

The aging baby boomer generation is fueling industry growth. The healthcare industry is predicted to be the largest driver of growth in the U.S. economy through most of the next decade. Yet, most healthcare organizations continue to experience strains as the healthcare talent shortage increases. This is a multi-pronged issue driven by increased demand, retirement, burnout and a lack of new healthcare professional entering the field complicating healthcare recruitment.

And experts predict the healthcare talent shortage will only get worse. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the country will face a shortage of 195,400 nurses by the year 2031. While doctors and nurses are the most visible employees in the healthcare industry, growth in the industry will impact positions throughout the sector. An increase in patients, hospital visits and appointments will call for more support staff, like clinic support, medical technicians, billing and coding professionals and even non-clinical hospital staff like janitorial and food service.

Laboratory technicians are facing many of the same labor challenges as physicians and nurses. Many are reaching retirement age, and retirements are expected to accelerate. Replacing them will tough, as the number of students graduating from laboratory technician programs is declining.

Plus, due to a shift towards home-based care, home health aide shortages are projected to grow significantly. The BLS predicts that the number of openings for home health and personal health roles will increase 37% by 2028.

Healthcare Talent Shortage

Less visible roles are also impacted by healthcare talent shortages. The medical coding profession has been plagued for years by a shortage of coders. Job growth for the position accelerated after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and experts expect that growth to continue along with the rest of the industry.

A Transforming Workplace

In addition to the healthcare staffing challenges, the healthcare industry is not immune to the changes impacting organizations across the country—like the digitization of services and the growing gig economy. The healthcare industry is always experiencing change due to technological advancement, medical research and new regulations. However, to adapt to these trends, organizations will need to seek out talent in different ways and find people with new skill sets.

Use of telemedicine and virtual care expanded during COVID-19 and are continuing to rise as a way to improve access. Jobs in these types of workplaces require different technology and communication skills than more traditional hospital and clinic jobs.

While many think of the gig economy as a place for creatives or rideshare drivers, the contingent workforce is taking on a greater role in healthcare. SIA reports that hospitals are turning to contract physicians and traveling nurses to deal with the talent shortage. Some practitioners are turning to this freelance work to boost their earning potential, and the system helps increase staffing at rural healthcare facilities that struggle with healthcare recruiting.

Large hospitals are also bringing in a greater share of doctors due to consolidation within the industry. Since 2019, over 100,000 private practice doctors have transitioned into employees of larger corporate healthcare organizations. Nearly three-quarters of physicians are part of larger healthcare systems in the U.S., a record high.

A Necessary Response

To remain competitive in this challenging talent landscape, healthcare organizations must take a proactive approach to planning their workforces, sourcing and recruiting talent, retaining workers and appealing to millennials and Generation Z workers who will fill the roles of retiring baby boomers.

Areas across the United States are already feeling the impact of the healthcare talent shortage, and experts say the pressure will only grow. Organizations need to respond now to prepare. Here are some steps companies in the healthcare industry should take to manage skills shortages and how technology can help.

Skills Shortage in Healthcare: Tackling the Lack of Healthcare Professionals

Healthcare organizations face a number of unique recruitment challenges compared to other industries. Finding and attracting candidates with the specific clinical, medical, and administrative skills required is an ongoing battle, especially for critical roles like nurses, physicians and specialist practitioners. With a large portion of the healthcare workforce reaching retirement age, an older population demanding more healthcare services, and new technology shifting the skills needed in the healthcare workforce, a skills shortage in healthcare is growing rapidly.

Healthcare organizations must plan now for the future by undertaking comprehensive workforce planning, establishing a robust talent pipeline, focusing on retaining their current workers and appealing to the younger generations to step into those roles.

The Healthcare Talent Landscape

The healthcare industry faces an uphill battle when it comes to recruitment and staffing. A perfect storm of factors, including an aging population, workforce shortages across multiple disciplines, and a global pandemic that has stretched resources to the breaking point, has created immense challenges. Healthcare organizations must navigate a highly competitive recruitment landscape to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, new healthcare roles are emerging that require specialized skill sets, further complicating hiring efforts. In this constantly evolving climate, understanding the current healthcare recruitment landscape is crucial for organizations looking to build a strong, sustainable workforce.

Dig Deeper

How RPO Can Solve The Top Challenges In Healthcare Talent Acquisition

Demographic Shifts Are Increasing Demand

People are living longer, and as Baby Boomers age, the demand for health services, including home health services, long-term and aged care, is increasing. Chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer are becoming more common with nearly half of the American population suffering from a chronic illness.

An older and sicker population is putting pressure on healthcare workers, especially those in clinical roles like nurses, physicians, health aides and therapists. Plus, demand is high for cardiovascular technologists, clinical lab technicians and other allied healthcare professionals who operate specialized equipment to diagnose and treat chronic conditions. Attracting and retaining top healthcare talent has never been more competitive, with demand increasing in both acute care and community settings, including large health systems, public health organizations, tech companies moving into healthcare, travel nursing firms, long-term care facilities, the military, healthcare research, mental health agencies, insurance and managed care companies, and even other industries.

Talent Supply Can’t Keep Up with Demand

The increase in demand seems to coincide with a healthcare talent shortage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that the country will face a shortage of 195,400 nurses by the 2031. Plus, a shift towards home-based care means the shortage of home health aides is projected to grow significantly. The BLS predicts that the number of openings for home health and personal health roles will increase 37% by 2028.

With home-based and long-term care growing, the U.S. healthcare system is also experiencing shortages for occupations like physical therapists and occupational therapists. Plus, these facilities find recruiting and retaining nursing assistants, care aides and direct care workers increasingly difficult due to low wages, demanding work and limited career advancement opportunities.

Retirement and Burnout Create Retention Issues

The challenges surrounding the skills shortage in healthcare are exacerbated by healthcare professionals exiting the workforce in droves. Experienced nurses, doctors and other clinicians are retiring and leaving patient care roles, resulting in the loss of crucial knowledge and experience for healthcare systems.

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing the median age of a Registered Nurse (RN) is 46 years old. Plus, more than a quarter of RNs report they plan to retire or leave nursing over the next five years. The rates of RN turnover in the United States have ticked up over recent years, growing from 17% in 2017 to 26% by 2021.

Driven by the strain of the pandemic and a shrinking workforce, many healthcare workers are experiencing burnout. According to the Medscape National Physician Burnout and Suicide Report, the average burnout rates for nurses and physicians in the US is 40%.

Burnout also has an impact on patient care. According to Nursing Times, about half of midwives say they’re afraid of making a mistake because they’re exhausted.

Innovation is Shifting the Skills Shortage in Healthcare

As care delivery models have shifted, there is a growing need for nurses and staff with specialized skills and experience. Use of telemedicine and virtual care expanded during COVID-19 and is continuing to rise as a way to improve access to healthcare. Digital disruptor Amazon recently completed an acquisition of One Medical and is now offering a new model of digital “concierge” or “membership” healthcare.

In addition, new innovations in digital health (think personal health tracking apps or wearables), med-tech, genomics, precision medicine, AI and more are transforming healthcare and shifting the necessary skills in the healthcare workforce.

Rising Labor Costs are Adding to the Strain on Healthcare Organizations

With nationwide labor shortages and inflation, healthcare organizations face rising costs for salaries, benefits and contract staffing. In all industries, workers are requiring more competitive compensation, benefits and perks to be enticed. This puts a particular strain on healthcare organizations where staffing is literally a matter of life and death.

High turnover among certified nursing assistants drives up costs for long-term care facilities and impacts quality of care. In order to keep high patient care standards and staff shortages, the U.S. healthcare system relies heavily on costly contract and travel nurses and other providers which further drives up labor costs for hospitals. In fact, contract labor expenses have risen more than 250% over the past three years.

Addressing the Skills Shortage in Healthcare

Addressing the skills shortage in healthcare requires a multi-pronged approach—improving workforce planning, enhancing recruitment and retention efforts, and elevating the perception of healthcare careers for the next generation.

Workforce Planning

To effectively respond to the changing healthcare talent landscape, organizations must take proactive steps to plan for their future needs. The future will look different for every organization. Healthcare organizations in Florida and the Southwest, where there are large numbers of retirees, will have different staffing needs than organizations in trendy urban areas in the Pacific Northwest or East Coast where the population tends to be younger and healthier. Region also makes a difference in attracting candidates, as rural health systems are already struggling to fill positions. Healthcare organizations should know what their needs will be in the coming years and what challenges they’ll face attracting workers.

Data analytics is a valuable tool for workforce planning. The American Hospital Association recommends that organizations analyze data including current workforce demographics, potential future workforce requirements, and factors impacting the data, like the increasing popularity of walk-in clinics, telehealth services and digital healthcare models. Predictive and prescriptive analytics tools can help healthcare organizations plan for future needs and evaluate how different decisions will impact those hiring needs. According to SHRM, this type of workforce planning can save money by eliminating issues with understaffing and overstaffing. Predictions can provide organizations with a clearer view of how and when different talent gaps will impact them. Armed with that information, healthcare organizations can make informed decisions when it comes to forming partnerships, increasing retention and reaching out to younger workers.

Building Talent Pipelines

A key strategy for combating the the skills shortage in healthcare will be convincing more people to enter the healthcare industry. Too often, HR leaders at organizations only think of potential candidates through a narrow lens. They focus on the people who already work in the industry and who already have the education and skills to be a nurse, medical technician or phlebotomist. There aren’t enough people already in those pipelines to fill the talent gap. Healthcare organizations need to think broad and start focusing on the young people who are considering a career in healthcare. They need to start marketing to these candidates earlier than ever before.

The American Hospital Association recommends that healthcare organizations establish community pipelines by partnering with high schools, colleges and other academic institutions. Through these partnerships, healthcare organizations can start engaging with future candidates earlier than ever and help drive young people to the healthcare industry. Partnerships can also create more candidates in a geographical region with a specific set of skills. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, a partnership in Minnesota between the University of Minnesota and the VA Healthcare system helped expand enrollment in the university’s nursing program and increased the program’s focus on veteran care. The program ensures more graduates in Minnesota with the skills necessary to care for veterans. Healthcare organizations should form these partnerships strategically, using their workforce planning predictions to understand which types of positions will have the greatest demand and where these partnerships can have the biggest impact.

skills shortage in healthcare

Focusing on Retention

HR leaders at healthcare organizations are grappling with the stresses the skills shortage in healthcare is creating for their current employees . Understaffing creates larger workloads and longer hours. According to CareerBuilder, 70% of nurses say they feel burnt out in their current job and more than half rate their stress level as “high.” According to Medscape, only 56% of nurses would choose their career if they had a chance to start over again. If current health care workers are stressed, burned out and regretting their career choice, that could harm the talent pipeline. Healthcare organizations cannot afford to lose younger nurses due to stress or burnout.

Healthcare organizations will have to face the challenges of burnout head on to retain their workers. Healthcare Dive offers tips for ways HR professionals can help, including making your staff aware of the signs of burnout and teaching self-care strategies. Wellness among the healthcare workforce must be a priority. Some healthcare organizations have created quiet rooms stocked with yoga mats and massage chairs where nurses can go during their shifts to take a break. CareerBuilder recommends offering a flexible work environment, encouraging exercise, establishing an open-door policy, offering mental health tools and focusing on continued education.

While an expensive option, contract healthcare providers can also help ease the burden on understaff facilities. PRN, or “pro re nata,” positions are growing in popularity throughout the entire healthcare industry. The positions are typically part-time, as needed, and many healthcare workers are turning to these roles for the flexibility, rather than taking full-time positions. Healthcare organizations can use PRN workers to cover understaffed shifts, which can lift some of the burden on permanent employees.

Appealing to Younger Workers

Healthcare organizations are competing for the best of the limited talent pool. To succeed in attracting candidates, healthcare organizations must build a strong employer brand and meet the needs of millennial and Generation Z workers.

What do millennials want? Countless writers have tried to answer that question, but Harvard Business Review reports millennials aren’t necessarily all that different from older generations. They want good managers, interesting work and the opportunity to learn and grow. Like many other generations, they want to make a positive impact and help solve social and environmental challenges. By its nature, a career in healthcare can provide that. One thing that does set millennials apart from earlier generations is an increased debt burden due to higher education costs. Some financial experts recommend that organizations consider new benefits packages that offer student debt repayment to lure millennial workers.

As for Generation Z, the oldest members are just starting to enter the workforce, but experts say to be prepared for a cohort of workers well versed in technology. According to Forbes, in addition to being technologically savvy, members of Gen Z are also entrepreneurial and serious-minded after watching the impact of the Great Recession, so organizations should expect creativity and offer continuing educational opportunities. Harvard Business Review recommends reaching Gen Z candidates where they are—on mobile devices. Authenticity and personalization are also important to this segment of the workforce, as they’ve grown up bombarded with personalized advertisements online.

Engaging an Expert to Tackle the Skills Shortage in Healthcare

As they work to manage the growing skills shortage in healthcare, healthcare organizations are turning to experts in healthcare RPO, MSP and Total Workforce Solutions for healthcare staffing support. As you plan for the future, a talent partner can help provide a view of the whole talent spectrum, finding the right mix of both full-time and contingent workers. As the gig economy grows in popularity and more healthcare workers turn to contingent work, a talent acquisition partner can also ensure compliance on legal issues. Healthcare organizations should seek out partners with the right experience to tackle the specific needs of the industry.

A partner with a depth of data analytics experience can help develop a unique plan that addresses the needs, region and demographics of your individual healthcare organization. Data expertise can also help organizations determine why current employees leave and predict which changes could make the biggest differences in employee retention.

Healthcare organizations should also look for a partner with strong experience in building candidate-centered application processes and employer branding. As healthcare organizations compete for talent, a candidate-centered process and strong employer brand will help bring in the millennial and Gen Z workers.

Conquering Top Challenges in Healthcare Talent Acquisition

Conquering Top Challenges in Healthcare Talent Acquisition

In the past 5 years, the average hospital turnover has been 105% of its workforce yet the total median HR funding for healthcare organizations is around 1% of operating costs. There are serious consequences of inadequate staffing and declining investment in talent acquisition such as degradation of patient care, potential “failure to rescue,” as well as internal job stress and higher attrition rates that could be detrimental to the organization’s brand and bottom line.

In this ebook, we explore the top challenges in healthcare recruiting, including:

  • Talent shortages
  • Advancements in talent technology
  • Evolving candidate expectations

Plus, you will learn how an RPO partner can help your organization overcome recruiting challenges in healthcare by applying expertise, experience, technology and innovative solutions to your talent acquisition program.

Healthcare RPO

PeopleScout RPO Solutions for Healthcare

Hiring the right talent is critical for any healthcare employer looking to stay ahead of the challenges facing today’s healthcare industry.

Download this fact sheet to learn how a recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) from PeopleScout can help your healthcare organization stay ahead of talent scarcity challenges.

Learn more about PeopleScout’s healthcare talent solutions.

Answering Your FAQs on RPO 

The terminology and processes involved in the world of RPO may seem unfamiliar. To gain a better understanding of how RPO can help improve your healthcare recruiting program, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions in healthcare RPO. 

Q: What Does RPO Stand For? 

A: Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) is a type of business process outsourcing (BPO) where an external organization (RPO provider) supports an employer’s talent acquisition function by assuming responsibility for portions or all facets of talent acquisition for some or all of an employer’s hiring needs. 

Q: What are RPO Companies? 

A: Recruitment process outsourcing companies provide outsourced talent acquisition services for professional and non-professional positions to solve compliance, scalability, cost, quality, or other recruiting challenges. By assuming all or some portions of an organization’s recruitment functions, RPO companies improve recruiting effectiveness, reduce turnover and enable strategic growth. 

Q: What is an RPO Provider’s Role During an Engagement? 

A: During an RPO engagement, an RPO provider’s team works closely with their client’s talent acquisition and HR department to learn the organization’s long-term talent acquisition strategy, hiring challenges and objectives. The RPO provider then designs a customized recruiting program to support the client’s specific needs. 

Q: RPO vs Staffing Agency, What’s the Difference?  

A: RPO providers manage a client’s end-to-end recruitment cycle, operating as a trusted partner and advisor. An RPO provider’s primary goal is to deploy a recruitment strategy that attracts, sources and hires high-quality permanent employees. Staffing agencies operate on a more reactive recruitment model, often hiring temporary or temp-to-perm talent on a requisition-to-requisition basis.  

Q: What is the Difference Between MSP and RPO? 

A: An RPO solution traditionally supports all responsibilities associated with permanent hiring within an organization, such as candidate sourcing, screening, candidate assessments, interviewing, and building talent pipelines. A Managed Service Provider’s (MSP) services are focused on contingent workforce management practices such as payroll management, staffing vendor management, procurement, and contingent workforce compliance expertise. 

Q: What Are the Benefits of the RPO Recruitment Model?  


  • Scalable Recruiting Resources: RPO solutions provide greater recruitment flexibility through an RPO provider’s ability to scale recruitment resources to match a client’s workforce objectives.  Scalable recruiting resources are ideal for organizations experiencing fluctuations in hiring volume, rapid growth, or who may need additional support to meet hiring demand. 
  • A More Consistent and Standardized Recruitment Process: RPO providers can help an organization better organize and execute its recruitment program leading to a more seamless recruit-to-hire process and consistent and predictable results for job seekers and hiring managers.   
  • Improved Candidate Quality: RPO providers have experience sourcing and hiring talent across all industries and skill types. An RPO provider will home in on more than a candidate’s experience and education to find candidates who best match the client’s company culture and business objectives. 

Q: What is Full-Cycle Recruiting and Why is it Best Managed Through An RPO? 

A: Full-cycle recruiting or “end-to-end recruitment” is a holistic approach to talent acquisition where an RPO provider is involved in each step of the hiring process. From talent pipelining and delivering talent assessments to interviewing, sourcing, screening, and candidate selection, an RPO provider can support a client’s strategic talent acquisition goals through the entire recruitment lifecycle.  

Q: What is Project-Based RPO? 

A: Project-based RPO is a type of RPO solution where a client outsources its recruitment needs on a project-by-project basis. Project-based RPO is ideal for organizations looking to meet short-term talent acquisition needs without committing to long-term engagements. Project-based RPO can also help support one-off hiring projects where niche expertise is needed. 

Dig into More Healthcare Talent Insights

Healthcare RPO: What to Expect from Your Prospective Partner

Healthcare RPO: What to Expect from Your Prospective Partner

What to expect for your healthcare RPO partnership.

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Skills Shortage in Healthcare: Tackling the Lack of Healthcare Professionals

Tips to tackle the skills shortage in healthcare