Money plays a crucial role in hiring and retention. Like it or not, workers have limits in terms of the compensation they are willing to accept. Healthcare is figuring that out as evidenced by a trend among healthcare systems to raise worker pay. They are finding themselves spending more to fill healthcare jobs that used to be easy to fill.
One of the latest healthcare systems to announce pay raises is Ohio’s Adena Healthcare system. Adena is based in Chillicothe and operates in nine counties across the state. They just announced plans to raise the minimum wage at their facilities to $15 per hour.
Adena will gradually raise worker pay in numerous installments through the end of the year. Employees are set to receive letters explaining the incremental increases. According to the company, boosting the minimum wage will affect about 14% of its workforce.
A Significant Increase in Pay
Up to this point, Adena has stuck with the state minimum wage of $9.30 per hour. But the powers that be have concluded that such low pay isn’t enough to attract and retain staff. Boosting minimum wage to $15 per hour represents an increase of more than 50%. That is attention-getting, no doubt.
Obviously, there are only certain types of healthcare jobs subject to minimum wage. Doctors, nurses, therapists, etc. make a whole lot more. But clinicians only make up a minority of the total number of healthcare workers in the U.S. They are supported by a virtual army of non-clinical workers.
So, what types of healthcare jobs are we talking about? These are orderly, housekeeping, janitorial, maintenance, and receptionist positions. These are the jobs held by people who do not have medical degrees or formal business training. Yet they still deserve to earn a living wage.
It’s Time to Bite the Bullet
Interestingly, Adena isn’t just boosting minimum wage for its lowest earners. The company says it will also be increasing pay for all but executives, physicians, and advanced practice nurses. They have not said how much more staff members will earn. Nonetheless, the company is coming to terms with current economic conditions.
Healthcare systems across the U.S. should follow Adena’s lead. It’s time to bite the bullet, settle for lower corporate profits, and pay healthcare workers more. Healthcare jobs are critical to the health and well-being of the population. We cannot allow so many positions to remain unfilled just to keep corporate shareholders happy.
Fortunately for workers, spending more to fill open positions has become the new norm. As healthcare systems aggressively compete for a limited number of employee candidates, compensation for healthcare jobs is rising. Whether they know it or not, job candidates are now in a better position than they were in the past.
Supply and Demand as an Equalizer
Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this new normal is the role supply and demand is playing. People who believe in free markets also tend to believe that supply and demand is the great equalizer. It is certainly proving to be as such in healthcare.
Right now, the demand for healthcare workers remains insatiable. Yet the supply of workers to fill open healthcare jobs continues to be limited. When demand is high and supply low, higher wages tend to be the result.
Spending more to fill open healthcare jobs is the new normal. How long will it remain so? No one knows. But for now, healthcare systems are willing to spend more to fill out their staffs. That is a good thing for workers. Let us hope things continue this way for the foreseeable future.