Of the many issues that will return to the Oval Office with President Obama for a second term, none will be more hotly debated and analyzed than our continued march toward fully implementing so-called Obamacare. Regardless of your stance on the matter, who could ever forget the rancor that surrounded passage of the original legislation two years ago, when lawmakers moved to give the Federal government direct control over an industry that makes up one-fifth of the U.S. economy.
As divisive as the new law is, rarely are its merits held up as an engine of job creation within the healthcare sector. And yet, the inclusion of tens of millions of formerly uninsured patients into our medical system is certain to have a huge impact on the hiring and practices of the nation's hospitals and healthcare providers.
The industry already has an enormous and growing backlog of unfilled, and high paying jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) report, of 3.2 million private job openings right now, nearly one-fifth of them (or 632,000 to be precise) can be found in the healthcare and social assistance category.
In Part 2 of Breakout's Who's Hiring? series we show why filling all those jobs is no easy task, as evidenced by the creative and innovative ways being used to recruit people. Take the Cleveland Clinic for example. This Ohio-based hospital is perennially ranked among the best medical facilities in the country, yet recently turned the local football stadium into a giant recruitment festival as part of an effort to hire 500 nurses.
While nurses and doctors might be the first professions to come to mind when you think about healthcare, there's actually a long and diverse list of opportunities to pick from, many of which are among the fastest growing (in terms of job creation) and best paying. From dental hygienists to cardiovascular technicians to lab assistance and occupational therapists, the demand for workers is high. Interestingly, so is the demand for support staff that keep the offices running and the bills humming, as giant institutions need to keep the lights on and their campuses safe.
And finally, you also have to consider the fact that the healthcare sector is recession proof and has been growing faster than the economy for a generation, and is expected to continue to do so, thanks to an aging population that is seeing the fastest growth among people 65 and older. Add it all up, and you can see why so many workers are needed, and that when it comes top jobs, the healthcare sector is hurting for help.