Healthcare salaries on the rise

May 23, 2011    

Original Article: Healthcare Finance News

By:  Stephanie Bouchard

OLATHE, KS – The healthcare job market is looking healthy, according to two recent reports.

According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry continued to add jobs in April, to the tune of more than 37,000. Meanwhile, Compdata, a compensation and survey data provider, announced that salaries in the industry are on the rise.

“Due to the shortage of skilled healthcare workers – because that shortage is growing at such a rapid rate – salaries for healthcare jobs continue to increase,” said Amy Kaminski, Compdata’s marketing director. “There’s just not enough people.”

Compdata’s 2011 Compensation Data Healthcare survey shows increases in salaries for in-demand jobs such as therapists, nurses and physician assistants, among others.

Occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech pathologists saw increases in the 5 percent to 6 percent range between 2009 and 2011, with the average base salary increasing 5.88 percent (from $65,600 to $69,700) for occupational therapists, 5.5 percent (from $70,400 to $74,500) for physical therapists and 5.95 percent (from $64,800 to $68,900) for speech pathologists. Those occupations saw salary increases in the 2 percent to 3 percent range from 2010 to 2011, which is in line with predicted 2011 salary increases across all industries nationally.

Kaminski said electronic medical records technicians will be in demand as healthcare organizations move to EMRs, so that occupation will see increases in salary. The average base salary for the position increased 1.79 percent, from $27,500 in 2010 to $28,000 this year.

Conversely, non-healthcare-specific jobs – such as accountants, payroll coordinators, controllers and information systems directors – have seen drops in average base salary or remained stagnant. Salaries for information systems directors, for example, dropped 1.48 percent from $101,400 in 2009 to $99,900 in 2011, while those for controllers dropped 3.09 percent from $110,000 to $106,600 in 2011.

“Those types of positions, we’re not seeing any movement as far as salaries go because there’s just a larger pool of candidates out there right now,” Kaminski said.

“I think once upon a time it was thought that the healthcare industry was completely immune to ups and downs of the economy and that they would survive and their pay would just continue to thrive even if there was a down time. I think we’ve really learned over the last couple of years that that’s simply not true,” Kaminski said.

Kaminski pointed out that like many other industries responding to the economic downturn, healthcare organizations did have cutbacks in non-critical departments and that salary increases slowed compared to the rates they were increasing previously.

Unlike other industries, though, healthcare just wasn’t hit as hard financially.

“Even though people had less disposable income, they were still having to take care of those medical issues, so that did help, I would say, the healthcare industry compared to, for instance manufacturing,” Kaminski said.

Original Article: Healthcare Finance News

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