COVID-19 shifted the healthcare sector, accelerating trends in some cases and requiring healthcare organizations to pivot and adapt quickly. A desire to keep people safe and support social distancing without impacting access to quality care led to a revolutionary uptick in digital care and telemedicine. So much so that these are considered must-have skills for healthcare professionals now. Skills shortages stemming from the impact of the pandemic on frontline workers is another concern in the industry.

But trends in healthcare jobs in 2022 and beyond aren't all solely linked to the pandemic. An aging population, new technology and the ever-present need to balance patient satisfaction with quality care also play roles in driving changes in the industry. 

Keeping up with these trends is important for employers who want to find, hire, train and retain top talent. Discover more about five of the most important healthcare job trends below.  

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severe staff and skills shortages 

The most significant trend in the healthcare industry is the ongoing staffing shortage. Many industry professionals have burned out, changed careers or retired early in response to the intense stress of the past few years. Since fewer students study health-related topics in Canadian universities, the shortage will likely continue.

Between 2020 and 2030, demand for healthcare workers is expected to increase by 16% — a faster job-growth rate than any other industry. Meeting this demand will require an urgent and collaborative approach. The government has responded by expanding eligibility for permanent residents to nurse aides, orderlies, patient service associates, pharmacy technical assistants and pharmacy assistants.

Amidst the shortages, healthcare organizations are finding new ways to support and retain current employees. Workforce experience will be critical to those efforts in 2023. To meet staffing challenges, employers will need to investigate creative hiring solutions, including working with recruiters to support the rapid deployment of skilled temporary workers. They may also consider investing in cross-training, healthcare education and support for immigrant labour populations.

a rise in virtual care and telemedicine

Patients have used telemedicine for years to get quick, convenient healthcare consultations. Virtual and telehealth services have increased dramatically over the past few years — a trend that will continue in 2023. In particular, there'll be a rise in remote monitoring for patients under mental health care.

As patients turn to virtual care, healthcare professionals must learn to provide comprehensive healthcare services and a positive patient experience using digital platforms. They also need the skills to manage apps, communication platforms and technical processes while assessing patients via video call, phone or chat.

Given the expansion of telehealth, it's no surprise that technical ability tops our list of in-demand skills for healthcare workers in 2023. Employers in the sector should consider these new skill requirements when hiring clinical and administrative staff.

technology to secure patient medical records

Technologies such as AI and medical IoT will transform how healthcare systems communicate with each other and their patients. These connected systems, combined with electronic health records, have the potential to improve healthcare workflows and boost the quality of care across the spectrum.

Patient confidentiality and data security remain a top concern as medical data moves into the digital space. Healthcare providers are responding by adopting and updating advanced cybersecurity systems. Some technology firms are considering the use of blockchain for medical record storage. Executed efficiently, these systems would allow patients to access, control and share a comprehensive record while maintaining a high level of security.

In 2023 and beyond, it's safe to expect demand for digital health governance and regulation. Patients, healthcare facilities and technology firms will benefit from oversight.

To support these advancements, healthcare organizations must think about hiring holistically. In addition to clinical and administrative staff who can use technology-based solutions, organizations may need technical staff to build, implement and maintain them.

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increasing demands for administrative staff

Clinicians aren't the only in-demand healthcare workers; employers need more administrative staff, too. According to data published by the government, the healthcare industry in Canada is poised to double the total number of bioscience and healthcare companies in the nation by 2025.

As patient volume increases, companies need more support workers to schedule appointments, interact with patients and offer administrative and clerical support to overworked healthcare professionals.

As they plan for the future, healthcare organizations must look to front- and back-end office positions, healthcare leadership needs and other behind-the-scenes positions that may need to grow and evolve with the times.

an aging Canadian population

Approximately 18.8% of Canadians, or 7.33 million people, were 65 or older in 2022. That percentage is expected to increase steadily until 2030, when all members of the baby boomer generation will be 65 or older.

Is the health sector prepared to care for a rapidly aging population? Experts don't think so at the current rate of staffing in the industry. The aging population is likely to cause a surge of care needs starting in just a few years, and healthcare staffing is poised to fall short if everything stays the same. These shortages could be especially pronounced in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

Healthcare businesses can step into these trends by planning today. Creating proactive hiring plans and working with recruiting resources to build a sustainable pipeline of qualified professionals can help you address staffing shortages now and head them off in the future.

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