Frontline Healthcare Workers Deserve Pay Transparency

A vast increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations resulting from the pandemic gave rise to an unprecedented demand for healthcare workers in 2020. For instance, the surge saw demand for intensive care unit specialists increase by more than 94% from March to July (over the previous six months), with average pay per week in April up to 40% higher than the 2019 average, just north of $2400.

The correlation between COVID-19 cases and compensation doesn’t stop there. Hotspot regions including New York, California, and Massachusetts also saw an increase of more than 90% in weekly pay for registered nurses. The increase shouldn’t be a surprise considering:

  • There’s mounting pressure on staffing agencies and hospitals to keep up nurse-recruiting efforts, especially as U.S. infections near 4.7 million.
  • Nurses’ daily work tasks have become tenfold riskier as they continue to work long hours compounded by the absence of proper PPE.
  • Healthcare providers are struggling with their mental wellbeing as they treat more COVID-19 patient, some of which do not recover.

To meet staffing demands around the country, staffing agencies and hospitals have realized the need for a more efficient collaboration process. This is crucial to quickly communicate with and deploy healthcare workers to critical-care jobs faster than traditional staffing methods. As part of this process, hospital operators and staffing employers must commit to providing frontline healthcare workers the pay transparency they deserve early on in their job search.

Breaking the Silence

In today’s healthcare job market, candidates are harder to find. They aren’t interested in lengthy interview processes, and they don’t want the runaround on monetary compensation. They are also increasingly asking more about the pay bands of different positions, transparency around pay packages and benefits, details on working conditions, and access to a community and resources, especially as their lives are more at risk. 

Pay transparency has long been a taboo subject in recruitment. LinkedIn reports that 51% of employers don’t make salary information available to early-stage candidates, and only 22% say they’re likely to start sharing that information within the next five years. The benefits for candidates are clear, as those who see a salary posted from the get-go can gain a clearer understanding of compensation before investing more time in the interview and recruiting process. 

Additionally, jobs with a posted salary receive 7.8% more applicants than postings without, showing that modern healthcare workers value pay transparency, and that showing transparent pay in job listings leads to more successful recruiting outcomes. Providing a salary allows job candidates to evaluate the opportunity themselves and empowers them to inquire more seriously about jobs most relevant to them. More applicants for a job listing also creates a higher likelihood that the job is filled in a shorter amount of time.

Improving Transparency

Staffing agencies and health systems can evolve their hiring models to improve transparency on the end-to-end candidate experience by investing in candidate-centric digital experiences. Platforms that empower healthcare workers to find the best job by including transparency around pay, details around hospital experience, and other quality-of-life factors can help guide decision-making. This will enable highly sought-after candidates to connect more easily and more in-depth with employers that make details about their recruitment process as seamless and transparent as possible

A focus on pay transparency also creates a sense of equity, whereby candidates will be able to see how they fit into the larger industry and can make the better decisions for themselves. More specifically, they’ll be able to easily compare pay and benefits among competitive healthcare providers. Having this clarity shows candidates that staffing agencies and health systems are working toward a more equitable workplace. 

Today’s healthcare candidates deserve more from the recruitment process. Hospitals and other healthcare employers owe it to candidates to improve their hiring processes by being more transparent about compensation.

Parth Bhakta is the co-founder and CEO of NurseFly, an online marketplace in healthcare recruiting that was acquired by IAC in 2019. Bhakta was previously the co-founder and CEO of Chatous, Inc, a venture-backed consumer internet startup that launched messaging apps for meeting new people, and social Q&A mobile apps to over 30 million users across the globe with over $18 million in venture funding. He is an early-stage angel investor in numerous startups and has additional background as a hospitality real estate developer and hotel operator in Southern California. Bhakta graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and an M.S. in Computer Science in 2013.

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