As a nation, Americans are facing serious health challenges. Heart disease remains the number-one cause of death for both men and women in the US, and a host of other conditions pose a great risk — including cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases and stroke.
In fact, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), life expectancy in the US has decreased for the second year in a row — the first time this has happened since the 1960s. This is due in part to deaths related to the opioid crisis.
Needless to say, healthcare workers are in high demand. But it’s not easy to fill those roles. The nursing shortage in particular has received lots of attention, and with good reason as the US is due to face a shortage of 95,000 nursing assistants and almost 30,000 nurse practitioners by 2025. But it’s not only nurses we need more of; there is also an expected shortage of 11,000 doctors and surgeons by the same year.
To identify the hardest-to-fill healthcare roles, we compiled a list based on the percentage of jobs unfilled after two months (Job postings can be open for longer than 60 days for different reasons; in this case Indeed uses this measure as a proxy for hiring difficulty.) It turns out that aside from nurses, many of the hardest-to-fill healthcare roles are quite advanced, with the majority being doctor roles. And of the two nursing roles that appear on the list, one is quite advanced as well — nurse practitioners can actually prescribe medicine.
What are the hardest-to-fill healthcare jobs?
The table below shows the hardest-to-fill roles based on the percentage of jobs still open after 60 days. For all of the jobs listed here, over half of posted positions are open after 60 days. And the top three hardest-to-fill jobs had a whopping two thirds of roles still open after 60 days. This means that for every 100 jobs posted, only 33 are filled two months later.
Let’s dig into the details.
Pulmonologists are the hardest to find
Coming in at the number-one hardest- to-fill job is pulmonologist, with 65.9% of job postings still open after 60 days. Pulmonologists are doctors who work on the respiratory system, treating conditions like chronic lower respiratory diseases, which are the number-four leading cause of death in the US.
The second hardest-to-fill job is rheumatologist. These doctors treat musculoskeletal disease and autoimmune conditions, commonly called rheumatic diseases. Some examples of conditions treated by rheumatologists are arthritis and gout. Almost two thirds (65.6%) of these jobs are open after 60 days.
Nursing roles still difficult to fill
At numbers three and four, we see nursing roles. At number three is nurse practitioner, with 59.7% of jobs still open after 60 days. Nurse practitioners have more responsibilities than registered nurses and can prescribe medicine. Number-four agency nurses work a more flexible schedule, and 57.8% of these roles are still open after 60 days.
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