Greater Seattle, WA (PRWEB) August 18, 2011
Though health care employment grew in July -- more than twice as much as in June -- and the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 9.1 percent, layoffs continued in the health care and pharmaceutical industries, and the still-slow, still-stuttering growth of health care IT -- widely predicted to create a multitude of jobs by 2014 -- has not had the effect experts have hoped for.
"Technology really is the biggest stumbling block when it comes to health care IT, and the jobs that will come with it," said John Burkhardt, Managing Director of MedZilla.com, the internet's most established source for health care, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology employment information. "Though the government is spending a lot of money supporting electronic health records and other new technologies in the medical field, there's virtually no standardization and many companies create proprietary data you can only view on their apps or with their devices." Technologically-focused job boards have been the subject of many news articles discussing where the new jobs are going to be (informationweek.com, 7/26/11), but despite the prevalence of cross-platform data delivery standards such as XML, many existing IT departments have shied away from cloud computing and its benefits because their existing infrastructure may not be able to support the additional load (zdnet.com, 7/27/11).
"Sometimes it's even simpler than that," Burkhardt continued. "If the jobs are being posted in the wrong place, then the right candidates -- the ones who are networking and using niche job boards -- may get lost among the chaff -- people who apply to every job, even the ones they're not qualified for." Companies -- especially hospitals and health systems -- are trying to tighten their belts as the influx of money has slowed to a crawl, and although the quality of candidates may be better, niche boards tend to cost more than the big names; the human resources team, therefore, might decline to post in what the manager thinks is the "right place" (informationweek.com, 7/25/11). Also, because of the high stakes of health care IT, entry-level applicants are often not considered by hiring mangers, or perhaps the companies themselves do not know they need these experts (hartfordbusiness.com, 8/1/11). One thing that might help is Healthcare IT Technician Certification, something that can go a long way when the people making the hires are not certain what an expert in the field actually looks like (networkworld.com, 7/25/11).
Applicants in July did receive some good news: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services said that 31,000 health care jobs were created in July, more than twice as many as in June. This was offset somewhat by planned job cuts, according to outplacement research firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas; almost all of those (out of just under 14,000 cuts in pharmaceuticals) came from Merck, who, despite profit increases in the second quarter of 2011, confirmed plans to eliminate as many as 13,000 positions by 2015 (rttnews.com, 7/29/11). Other large-scale -- although not quite as large-scale as Merck -- job cuts were announced by Baystate Health in western Massachusetts, who will be eliminating 354 (bostonherald.com, 7/20/11); Omega Healthcare Investors in Connecticut, who will be closing four nursing homes, affecting 575 (courant.com, 7/29/11); and Elliot Health Systems in New Hampshire, who blames Medicaid reimbursement cuts for the 182 jobs lost (nashuatelegraph.com, 7/27/11), a problem facing more hospitals than just the ones owned by Elliot (fiercehealthcare.com, 7/27/11).
While job posting numbers were relatively unchanged geographically, MedZilla numbers for July indicated that postings of sales jobs were up more than three percent, while health care IT postings fell back by almost that much. Activity by job seekers was also relatively unchanged, but companies seeking qualified applicants again increased in many locations -- Georgia by 4.4 percent, Minnesota by 3.3 percent, and four other states by between one and three. Resume searches were up for companies looking for sales representatives, as well as oncology and biostatistics experts.
"In addition to the general dearth of jobs that fit the applicants out there, we're also hearing more about discrimination against unemployed workers, especially older ones," said Del Johnston, MedZilla's Manager of Client Relations. "Job postings, especially on the big boards, are starting to come with 'must be already employed in field' as one of the requirements, which is a big stumbling block for people who've been out of work for months or years." While the reason the candidate is unemployed varies from person to person, companies often worry about skills atrophying, or perhaps an intangible that is not seen on a resume but is easy to observe in an interview (cbsnews.com, 7/27/11). "These issues hit older workers especially hard because they might have been a director or high-level manager victimized by budget cuts and companies are concerned that someone who once held such a high position would feel stifled by a mid-level position. Even though discrimination due to age is illegal, it does happen." Fortunately, sometimes all it takes is a little hair dye and some creative dating on a resume to overcome that hurdle (consumerist.com, 7/20/11).
Established in mid-1994, MedZilla is the original and leading web site to serve career and hiring needs for professionals and employers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, science and healthcare. The MedZilla jobs database contains about 7,500 open positions. The resume database currently contains over 285,000 resumes with 16,800 less than three months old. These resources have been characterized as the largest, most comprehensive databases of their kind on the web in the industries served.
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