Good Pay & Value Alignment Are What Workers Seek in Healthcare Jobs, Reports Say

Healthcare providers will continue having a difficult time retaining employees unless they make necessary changes, such as establishing pay increases and improving company culture, according to a pair of recently released reports.

Nearly 40% of healthcare workers are considering leaving their organization, said a report released last week by Qualtrics, a vendor of experience management software. The company surveyed 3,000 healthcare employees for the report.

Much of healthcare employees’ desire to quit stems from feelings of burnout, according to the report. But payment dissatisfaction plays a role as well. Healthcare ranked last for employee satisfaction with pay among the 27 other industries that Qualtrics studied. Only half of healthcare employees said they believe their pay is fair.

A report released Tuesday by education technology company Cengage Group revealed yet another reason healthcare workers are quitting — their employers’ mission and values. The report surveyed 200 healthcare workers ages 25 and older who quit their jobs and found a new one in the same industry between May 2021 and May 2022.

A full 52% of healthcare workers who left their jobs said their primary reason was that their company’s mission no longer aligned with their values. Healthcare workers cited this reason three times more frequently than compensation, according to the report.

In an interview earlier this month, a director of a California nurses union said that healthcare providers’ dangerous levels of understaffing causes healthcare workers to feel like their employers don’t care very much about patient safety. This creates a critical disconnect between the values of workers and their employers, as nurses usually get into their line of work to help people and provide quality care, Rosanna Mendez, executive director of SEIU Local 121RN, pointed out.

She said that it’s not uncommon for a patient to fall out of their hospital bed because there isn’t a nurse available to help them get to the bathroom. Patients also often have to wait much longer than they should to receive their medication because nurses aren’t available to administer it, she explained.

“At the end of the day, this is causing a huge moral, psychological and emotional injury on the nurses. They go home in tears because they are not able to provide the care that they want to be able to provide,” Mendez said.

Job-hopping won’t necessarily fix the issue of misaligned values, Cengage Group’s report found. Among workers who left their healthcare role for another one in the same industry, 35% said they regret their decision. This is significantly higher than the percentage reported among the survey’s 1,200 respondents across all industries, which was 16%.

The report also found that 69% of healthcare resigners are happy in their new role. This is significantly lower than the percentages reported in other industries — for example, 86% of the 200 tech industry resigners included in the report said they are happy in their new role.

Healthcare must take a serious and comprehensive look at these employee gripes if the industry wants to solve its workforce crisis — healthcare is doing an incredibly poor job of attracting new talent, according to the report.

Across all industries, the vast majority of respondents said they would switch careers if they lose their job. But just 9% said they would switch to healthcare.

Photo: FG Trade, Getty Images