Healthcare Industry Employment Trends in the Richmond MSA. Prepared for Resource s Healthcare Industry Employment Summit

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1 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA Prepared for Resource s Healthcare Industry Summit

2 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA Key Findings The importance of the healthcare industry to the economy and labor market of the Richmond, VA MSA is undeniable. This report finds that: The healthcare industry employs more workers than any other industry in the Richmond MSA. Despite slow job growth in other industries, hiring in healthcare related occupations remains strong. A wide variety of occupations are available, spanning all education and training levels. Flexible and part-time schedules may appeal to those who find that more traditional work schedules conflict with family obligations. Thousands of healthcare industry employers are present in the Richmond region, ranging from major corporations to independent doctor s offices. Wages vary greatly depending on education and training. However, all wages are above minimum wage and even lower wage earners typically earn more than $11.00 per hour. Historical employment growth has been strong and projected employment growth is well above the regional average for all industries. 2

3 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA Current The Healthcare industry is an important piece of the Richmond regional job market. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Market Statistics, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry employs over 82,000 workers almost 15% of the region s total workforce and more than any other industry in the Richmond MSA. Figure 1: Distribution of by Industry Sector, Richmond, VA MSA Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, 1.6% Transportation and Information, 1.9% Warehousing, 3.4% Other Services (except Public Admin.), 3.6% Management of Companies and Enterprises, 4.0% Real Estate and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing Rental and & Hunting, 0.2% Utilities, 0.6% Leasing, 1.3% Mining, 0.1% Health Care and Social Assistance, 14.3% Wholesale Trade, 4.0% Retail Trade, 11.7% Manufacturing, 5.7% Admin., Support, Waste Mgmt, Remediation, 5.8% Education Services, 9.8% Finance and Insurance, 5.9% Professional, Scientific & Technical Services, 6.0% Construction, 6.1% Public Administration, 7.0% Accommodations and Food Services, 7.3% Source: Labor Market Statistics, Quarterly Census of and Wages Program, 4 th Quarter 2009 Hiring in the healthcare industry remains strong, despite slow job growth overall. The Virginia Commission reports that as of 13, there were 2,595 advertised job openings online in the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations category and 702 openings in Healthcare Support Occupations category. These positions represent almost 20% of the total advertised job openings online during this same period. Though notable, these findings are not surprising. While other industries have suffered from challenging economic conditions, the healthcare industry has a reputation for being recession-resistant due to the 3

4 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA fact that the vast majority of services provided within the industry are need-based as opposed to elective. Shortages of some key workers such as registered nurses also fuels high job vacancy rates. Industry Occupations and Required Training The healthcare industry offers a wide variety of occupations including both professional and service positions. These occupations span all training and education requirements. Professional occupations such as physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, and dentists usually require at least a bachelor s degree, and often times a specialized medical degree. However, it is possible for registered nurses to satisfy training requirements through associate degree or diploma programs. Health technologist and technician positions are a fast-growing segment of healthcare occupations. These individuals are generally responsible for the operation of medical equipment and providing assistance to health diagnostic practitioners. Typically, a 1- or 2-year postsecondary program provides the training necessary to enter these occupations. Service occupations such as nursing aides, home health aides, and medical assistants require little specialized training or education. These positions are generally open to most job applicants who possess the appropriate soft skills. Relatively clear ladders of progression exist between occupation levels in the healthcare industry and opportunity for advancement does exist. However, advancement often requires some type of formal training, whether a certificate program or a full degree program. Job Flexibility Most employment opportunities within the healthcare industry are full-time, but a significant number of part-time positions do exist. Though part-time positions are often viewed as less desirable, these positions provide flexibility for those who cannot or do not wish to work full-time schedules. Additional flexibility is provided by shift work, which is also prevalent within the healthcare field. These characteristics make the healthcare industry particularly attractive to those balancing work and family obligations. Employers There are several major healthcare industry employers in the Richmond MSA. Many operate several different medical facilities under a single parent company. locations vary but include hospitals and clinics, offices of health practitioners, ambulatory healthcare services, and nursing and residential care facilities. 4

5 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA Thousands of smaller healthcare industry employers exist, ranging from international corporations to small, independent practitioner s offices. Table 1: Top Five Healthcare Employers, Richmond, VA MSA Employer Name Richmond MSA Richmond MSA Job Openings VCU Health System 7, HCA - The Healthcare Company 6, Bon Secours Richmond Health System 5, WellPoint, Inc. 3, Southside Regional Medical Center 1, Sources: The Greater Richmond Partnership and online job listings Wages The average annual wage for employees in the healthcare industry in the Richmond MSA is $43,363 (JobsEQ). This is similar to the average annual wage of all industries. However, healthcare occupation wages can vary widely depending on training, education, and experience. Wages for healthcare practitioners such as physicians can average over $100 an hour, while registered nurses, therapists, and technologists are generally paid between $20 and $40 an hour. Technicians generally earn between $12 and $18 an hour depending on the complexity of the work. For example, psychiatric technicians are the lowest paid at $11.80 an hour, while medical and clinical laboratory technicians earn an average of $17.81 hourly. Table 2: Selected Wages in Healthcare Occupations, Richmond, VA MSA Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations Mean Hourly Wage Surgeons $ Pharmacists $54.26 Registered Nurses $30.39 Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational $19.36 Nurses Occupational Therapists $33.16 Radiation Therapists $35.40 Surgical Technologists $21.12 Nuclear Medicine Technologists $31.01 Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians $17.81 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics $15.71 Pharmacy Technicians $13.69 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May

6 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA The mean hourly wages of Healthcare Support Occupations are significantly lower than most Practitioner and Technical Occupations. The lowest paid are home health aides at $9.33 an hour. However, all occupations in this category earn more than minimum wage with most earning more than $11.00 an hour. Table 3: Selected Wages in Healthcare Support Occupations, Richmond, VA MSA Healthcare Support Occupations Mean Hourly Wage Home Health Aid $9.33 Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants $11.66 Dental Assistants $16.57 Medical Transcriptionists $14.59 Pharmacy Aides $10.88 Occupational Therapist Assistants $27.00 Medical Assistants $14.50 Medical Equipment Preparers $12.87 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2009 Historical and Projected Industry Growth The healthcare industry in the Richmond MSA has experienced above-average growth over the past five years. In this time period, employment has grown by over 13,000 positions. In comparison, employment in all industries has declined by almost 4,000 positions. Future projections indicate that demand for healthcare industry professionals will continue to grow. The industry is projected to have a bright future in the Richmond region with a 2.3 percent average annual growth over the next ten years, resulting in the addition of over 20,000 jobs in that time span. In contrast, total employment for all industries is only projected to increase by an average of 1.2 percent annually the Richmond MSA. High employment projections are linked to the nation s aging population which will increasingly require more medical care. Changes in national healthcare regulations could also create increased demand as more Americans become insured and are able to afford healthcare services. Table 4: Historic and Projected Change, Health Care and Social Assistance Total Change 2005q1- q1 Average Annual Percent Change in 2005q1-q1 Projected Change in Total q1-2020q1 Projected Avg. Annual Percent Change in q1-2020q1 Health Care and Social Assistance Total All Industries Source: JobsEQ 13, % 20, % -3, % 74, % 6

7 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA While almost all occupations in the Healthcare Practitioner and Technical Occupations category and the Healthcare Support Occupations category are projected to grow above the regional average, some occupations have particularly strong growth projections. Occupations with strong growth projections in the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations category include many positions that require a high degree of specialized training and education such as physicians and surgeons. Registered nurses and physician assistants also require a significant amount of education and training, but these positions could be attainable to lower wage earners within the healthcare industry if education resources were made available. Occupations such as licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses as well as various technician positions present the most likely point of entry into the healthcare industry for those who seek a career change and are willing to participate in short-term, specialized training programs. Table 5: Projected Growth, Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations Occupation Four Quarters Ending with q1 Avg. Annual Percentage Change in 2005q1-q1 Avg Projected Avg. Annual Percent Change in q1-2020q1 Physician Assistants % 3.5% Dental Hygienists % 3.3% Veterinarians % 3.1% Health Diagnosing and 2, % 2.5% Treating Practitioner Support Technicians Optometrists % 2.3% Therapists 2, % 2.3% Registered Nurses 11, % 2.2% Physicians and Surgeons 2, % 2.1% Licensed Practical and 3, % 2.1% Licensed Vocational Nurses Medical Records and Health % 2.0% Information Technicians Miscellaneous Health % 2.0% Technologists and Technicians Miscellaneous Health % 2.0% Practitioners and Technical Workers Source: JobsEQ The Healthcare Support Occupations include many positions that require only moderate to low levels of training and education. These occupations provide a good opportunity for workers looking to enter the healthcare industry without significant training. Particularly strong growth is projected for various types 7

8 Healthcare Industry Trends in the Richmond MSA of aides in this category. Aid positions typically require little to no previous experience, though it should be noted that these positions generally pay lower wages and generate a large amount of employee turnover. Table 6: Projected Growth, Healthcare Support Occupations Occupation Physical Therapist Assistants and Aides Nursing, Psychiatric, and Home Health Aides Occupational Therapist Assistants and Aides Four Quarters Ending with q1 Avg. Annual Percentage Change in 2005q1-q1 Projected Avg. Annual Percent Change in q1-2020q % 3.1% 11, % 3.0% % 2.8% Miscellaneous Healthcare 5, % 2.6% Support Massage Therapists % 2.0% Source: JobsEQ 8

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