Healthcare economy attracting cross-industry job seekers

With healthcare continuing to add jobs--or at least hold stable and offer positions when people leave--it's become a magnet for skilled people in other professions of late.

For example, hospitals added 135,000 jobs last year, and topped that with 19,400 more in the first half of 2009, despite an unemployment rate that has gone up to nearly 10 percent in the U.S. at times.

Who's making these kinds of transitions? A piece in The New York Times gives the example of Frank Pinkowsky, who moved over to a human resources position at the Guthrie Clinic in Sayre, PA after 24 years in management at DuPont. Another example comes from Sutter Health, which just recruited a VP for human resources from the supermarket industry. That's a pretty significant investment of trust given that it only hires 20 to 30 executives a year.

Meanwhile, non-health IT types are migrating into the profession, spurred by the lure of the stimulus dollars which are son to build the industry to new levels. For them, one major partner is HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, which has served hard-core IT pros for many years. HIMSS has established an online health IT training academy on key topics within the discipline.

Meanwhile, the industry is doing what it can to help professionals get oriented and learn what it takes to get into healthcare. For example, the American College of Healthcare Executives offers several pages of career tips on its website, as well as a relatively recent salary summary.

Of course, healthcare executives note, there's a pretty darned steep learning curve involved in getting into the industry, which is replete with jargon, regulations and complex personal and professional relationships. All that being said, it seems likely that a growing industry like healthcare will keep attracting new entrants for the near future. After all, even when the economy recovers, it seems unlikely that other industries will catch up anytime soon.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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