For the last 6 months or so we've all been watching the Healthcare Technology Industry with a careful eye as a new trend seems to be developing:
(the use of "Healthcare Systems" and "Employer" / "Client" used in the post are general terms used to represent hospitals of any size)
* We are no longer in a time when contractors can set their rates as high as they want due to their qualifications/experience, we are entering a time when healthcare systems, vendors and large consulting firms are setting the hourly rates and these new rates are reflecting a money crunch in the industry.
* Consultants that used to find it relatively easy to glide from one contract to the next are now finding it more difficult to land their next project.
* Many healthcare systems are opting for the hiring model: Contract to Hire - as opposed to just engaging contractors or immediately bringing someone on as an FTE (full time employee). Its what I call the "try before you buy" method which works both ways - the employer is able to determine if the consultant will be a good fit and the consultant is able to see if the client will be a good employer.
* Healthcare systems have spent an exorbitant amount of money implementing new EMR systems and are no longer in need of large numbers of consultants, so the contracts are ending and remaining positions are being filled with FTEs.
* Healthcare systems are limiting consultant travel across the board due to financial constraints. While some are fortunately and wisely allowing for remote work, most are requiring that consultants are local and only considering travel or remote when efforts to find local qualified candidates have been exhausted.
* When hiring FTEs employers are also trending toward finding local candidates to save on relocation fees. Some are still open to paying for relocation and even fewer are open to considering an FTE that is remote.
What does all this mean for industry consultants?
1. You will need to be more flexible on your rate ($) expectations.
2. While working remotely is ideal for many, if possible be open to travel and consider local healthcare systems when looking for your next contract.
3. If you've gone many months without finding a new contract, it may be time to consider FTE.
4. Consider aligning yourself with multiple consulting firms (make sure to only work with recruiters you feel comfortable with, that will give you honest rates and information - even if it isn't what you wanted to hear)
5. When working with consulting firms ALWAYS specify that they are not allowed to submit your resume to a client without your permission. With fewer jobs on the market you don't want to risk a duplicate submittal to the same client as this will potentially eliminate you from consideration.
What does all this mean for people seeking a permanent FTE?
1. Find consulting / staffing firms that also assist their clients with perm placement, often having a firm submit your resume is more successful than applying through a company web site. (*note - most potential employers will not accept a resume from a firm IF that candidate has already applied via their website SO... DO NOT apply through a company web site if you can go through a firm... typically firms will have direct communication with the hiring manager and will be much more likely to get you an interview)
2. Be flexible on your salary requirements - consider the job and take lower pay for the role that
ticks all the other boxes.
3. Be flexible on other specifics such as PTO, remote work, benefits etc.
4. If at all possible - be open to relocation.
5. Apply to all your local healthcare systems and follow up your web site application with an note via linkedin to the person that would likely be your manager. (if you're unable to find a firm to represent you)
In the present market finding a job can be a full time job in itself. With a strong resume, solid skills and the right effort and flexibility, you should still be able to land a position that will suit you.
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