Oct 23, 2023



Five Hospital Workforce Trends to Watch in 2024

Updated from August 14, 2023

Competitive pay and benefit packages are only half the battle when it comes to acquiring and retaining top talent. Learn more about the current trends shaping the healthcare industry’s workforce.

Between dwindling margins and industry-wide burnout, hospitals around the world are facing significant labor shortages that are only expected to worsen as the population ages. In addition, Healthgrades research shows that 57% of consumers are more concerned with quality than they were before the pandemic, and 35% are researching hospital quality more than they had before the start of COVID-19.

To keep pace with the demand for care while retaining and attracting top talent, hospital leaders must look beyond financial incentives and understand the factors shaping the current behaviors of healthcare workers—from COVID-19-related departures to the need for more robust DEI initiatives in recruiting.

Five Workforce Trends to Watch

Take note of these five hospital workforce trends as you build your recruitment and retention strategy to help keep your employees happy, your hospital staffed, and your patients receiving the care they need and deserve.

1. COVID-19 has driven workers out of the industry.

Since the start of COVID-19, a growing number of health industry workers are either considering jobs with different organizations or leaving healthcare entirely. By 2030, we can expect a shortage of around 18 million healthcare professionals—one-fifth of the workforce needed to sustain healthcare systems. In addition to issues like burnout and resource shortages, the high risk of developing a severe COVID-19 infection has unevenly impacted women and people of color in healthcare, contributing to their departures from the profession.

2. Burnout is still a big issue on hospital workers’ minds.

Working in a high-stress environment like a hospital affects healthcare workers across job functions, including non-clinical roles within hospitals like janitorial and food service staff. Across the board, 50% of respondents in a recent study reported feeling burnt out, with the highest levels experienced by nurses. Excessive workloads, administrative burdens, a lack of organizational support, and limited scheduling autonomy all contribute to burnout among healthcare workers.

3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) in healthcare is central to employee retention.

Research shows that a diverse healthcare workforce enhances access to healthcare services, strengthens physician-patient relationships, and ensures culturally relevant care. As of 2019, Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans faced significant underrepresentation in nursing and physician professions. In 2022, just 8% of full-time medical school faculty in the U.S. were Black, and 7.1% were Hispanic, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. These low percentages are alarming, given that historically marginalized groups like BIPOC consumers1, LGBTQ+2 individuals, and women continuously face inconsistent treatment outcomes. As such, providing the best possible care for a diverse patient pool starts with enhancing DEI in healthcare.

4. Healthcare workers feel optimistic about the industry’s future.

In most industries, job-based optimism is down—but not in healthcare. Optimism is on the rise despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A Morning Consult survey revealed that 58% of healthcare workers hold positive expectations for the industry’s future, marking a significant rebound following three challenging pandemic years. Moreover, healthcare professionals demonstrate remarkable confidence in their job prospects, surpassing all other sectors regarding job-based optimism. Recent LinkedIn data marked a notable three-point increase in confidence regarding job stability and prospects over the past five months, highlighting healthcare workers’ resilience and optimism in the face of ongoing uncertainties.

5. Strong, value-oriented leadership has never been more important to the nation’s care workers.

Fostering a positive work environment dedicated to patient care begins with your leadership team. With the disruption and case overload brought on by the pandemic, healthcare workers need steadfast leadership more than ever to set the tone for success. Leaders must be clear about relaying their organization’s values, specifically a commitment to improving clinical outcomes and building a culture of safety, inclusion, and respect—in addition to listening to staff, working to address pain points, and reminding staff why they chose a career in healthcare, which is achieving better outcomes for the patients in their care.

The good news is that Healthgrades can help you accomplish that—and more.

Building a culture of excellence, recognition, and resilience

Rooted in the most scientifically rigorous methodology in the industry, Healthgrades’ hospital quality awards are a testament to the exceptional clinical outcomes achieved by care teams at the nation’s top hospitals. These achievements attract top-of-the-line talent who are looking to join a nationally recognized care team, and remind the community that outstanding care is close to home. For current employees, a Healthgrades distinction is more than bragging rights: it is a crucial recognition of the lifesaving work their teams perform each and every day to better the lives of their patients.  

Take a look at how these award-winning hospitals are leveraging their quality achievements to celebrate dedicated staff and maintain their outstanding care teams. 

Connect with us today to make quality achievements part of your recruitment and retention efforts and discover how a Healthgrades partnership can drive continuous improvement at your hospital.

1 Black, Indigenous, and People of Color
2 People who identify as Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and all sexual and gender minorities