Many health care workers to search for new employment News added by Benefits Pro on May 6, 2013

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By Amanda McGrory-Dixon

Facing high patient loads, staff cuts and rising stress levels, 34 percent of health care workers say they are ready to search for new employment this year, a jump from 24 percent in 2012, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.

In the next two years, 45 percent of employee respondents say they anticipate seeking out new job opportunities.

Although 82 percent of employee respondents say they are not currently looking for new employment, they do acknowledge they would consider another position for the right role.

"Not only are health care organizations dealing with a shortage of high-skill workers, they are facing higher demand fueled by an aging population and more Americans having access to medical benefits," said Jason Lovelace, president of CareerBuilder Healthcare. "Nearly half – 46 percent – of health care organizations said they have seen a negative impact on their organizations due to extended job vacancies.

"Long hours and juggling multiple patient needs are taking their toll on morale and retention. The survey shows health care workers are seeking a more manageable work experience."

A more difficult hiring environment directly affects patient care as staff members experience higher stress while they cover open positions for long periods, the survey found. In fact, 21 percent of employee respondents report always or often feeling burned out. Among those burned-out respondents, 67 percent say they will look for new employment this year.

Considering the increased stress levels and workloads, 34 percent of employer respondents say improving employee morale is the primary staffing challenge. Other staffing challenges include retaining top talent at 33 percent, finding skilled workers at 32 percent and offering competitive compensation at 30 percent.

Still, there are ways employers can improve job satisfaction and retention, the survey revealed.

Seventy-five percent of employee respondents say they are not bringing home their desired salary, and 29 percent say their current salary is nowhere near their desired salary level.

Forty-four employee respondents report that they were given merit raises last year; however, 17 percent say they haven’t seen a merit raise since before 2008, and 41 percent of employee respondents haven’t received cost-of-living increases since before 2008.

Work-life balance is also an issue as 18 percent of employee respondents report feeling dissatisfied with their current situations. Forty-four percent of employee respondents say this is caused by heavy workloads, and 21 percent say this stems from employers refusing to offer flexible work schedules.

When it comes to career advancement, 24 percent of employee respondents are unhappy with their movement thus far. The nonexistence of upward mobility is one of the main reasons employee respondents are planning on looking for new employment.

Even new industries are options as 29 percent of employee respondents are trying to gain new skills. Employee respondents are doing so by returning to school at 54 percent, volunteering at 18 percent, and participating in temporary or contract work.

While many employee respondents are looking for new opportunities, there are still those who have no plans to leave. Reasons employee respondents are choosing not to leave include finding their work satisfying and rewarding at 57 percent; enjoying their colleagues at 54 percent; having the ideal location at 53 percent; compensation, benefits and perks at 51 percent; and flexible work schedules at 44 percent.

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