The Future of Healthcare Support Staffing in 2023 and Beyond

Aug 22, 2023

The healthcare industry is in a state of constant evolution, with new challenges and opportunities emerging every year. As we approach the last quarter of 2023, it’s crucial to understand the trends shaping the healthcare staffing sector to stay ahead of the curve.

In this blog, we explore the latest forecast by Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA), which provides insights into the future of healthcare support staffing and how it impacts both healthcare providers and job seekers.

A Triple Triumph: The Market Growth

The healthcare staffing sector has witnessed phenomenal growth, with its market size reaching a whopping $64.4 billion in 2022. This is more than triple the market size in 2019. Such exponential growth can be attributed to various factors, but a significant portion, 63%, comes from the travel nurse segment. This segment alone has seen a six-fold increase since 2019. While the Covid-19 pandemic played a role in this surge, the current demand for healthcare staffing revolves more around staffing shortages and structural issues within health systems.

Diving Deep into the Four Trending Healthcare Support Segments

  • Travel Nurse: This segment, which had been on a growth trajectory, seems to have peaked in 2022. SIA anticipates a contraction of 25% in 2023, with a further decrease in 2024. Such a contraction hasn’t been observed since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. However, it’s essential to note that this contraction follows an astounding growth in 2021 and 2022. The market’s decrease is seen as a moderation after the high peak due to the pandemic. As we move forward, health systems are expected to reduce their contingent spending but will continue to rely on staffing firms due to the ongoing nursing shortage.
  • Per Diem: This segment is projected to grow by 5% in both 2023 and 2024. Per diem staffing offers flexibility for health systems to fill positions as needed, without long-term commitments. It also provides healthcare professionals the chance to experience different facilities before settling into a full-time contract. The increasing preference for per diem staffing is evident, with many staffing firms implementing platforms to streamline recruitment and scheduling.
  • Locum Tenens: In 2023 and 2024, this segment is expected to grow by 10% in a continued manner given their availability and flexibility. The aging population, demanding more medical services for chronic illnesses, drives this growth. With a significant portion of the physician workforce nearing retirement, the US could face a shortage of between 37,800 and 124,000 physicians by 2034. However, the rising interest in nurse practitioner and physician assistant careers will help meet this demand.
  • Allied: This segment is also projected to grow by 5% in 2023 and 2024. The demand here is driven by schools seeking professionals like speech-language pathologists and school psychologists. The aging population further fuels the need for specialized healthcare professionals.

The Road Ahead

The healthcare sector will continue to have more job openings than hires across almost every segment. This imbalance between demand and supply is expected to persist. With an aging population and an overstretched workforce, health systems will likely continue to rely on staffing firms, even if there’s some contraction from the peak seen in the previous year.

The future of healthcare support staffing is both challenging and promising. As healthcare providers, it’s crucial to stay updated with these trends to ensure you have the right staff at the right time. And for job seekers, understanding these trends can help in making informed career decisions.

At iQuasar, we are committed to providing top-notch healthcare staffing services, ensuring both healthcare providers and professionals benefit from these industry insights

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