Looming Shortage of “Middle Skill” Healthcare Workers

Are you already noticing a shortage of medical coders, billers, patient intake admins, and other “middle-skill” healthcare pros here in Southern California? If not, you will soon.

The Pasadena Star News reported last year that 42 percent of the demand for these types of “middle skill” workers (and others) won’t be met by 2022.

In fact, the LA Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) predicted 125,000 healthcare job openings by 2022 for all levels of medical positions. These positions pay well and are a great way for people to find in-demand careers after just one or two years of training.

What is your Los Angeles/Orange County healthcare organization doing to prepare?

Los Angeles healthcare recruiters

For example, what do you currently pay your medical billers, coders, and admins? We believe healthcare organizations are going to have to raise salaries to attract these hard-to-find workers.

Here’s what Indeed.com reported as the average hourly rate for these workers for #LA and #OrangeCounty (as of early September):

  • Medical biller: Anaheim, $16.15. Los Angeles, $16.46
  • Coding specialist: Anaheim, $25.38. Los Angeles, $27.66
  • Medical transcriptionist: Los Angeles, $42,720 per year
  • Practice manager: Newport Beach, $67,243 per year

If you’re not able to raise pay rates, here are some ideas you could try to attract middle-skill healthcare professionals:

  • Offer current medical clerks and receptionists fully paid-for training to become coders, transcriptionists, etc.
  • Offer remote work/telecommuting options.
  • Recruit outside your traditional talent pool/adjust your skills and experience requirements. For example, instead of requiring six months of experience for an entry-level position, take someone out of high school and train him in medical billing.
  • Consider hiring contract/freelance workers.
  • Partner w/ a # healthcare staffing agency.

Helpmates provides healthcare staffing services for Orange County and Los Angeles employers. From medical clinics, private practices, hospitals, nursing homes, and more, we provide coders, transcriptionists, insurance billers, office managers, receptionists, and more.

Contact the branch nearest you when you need healthcare staffing help.

Are Apprenticeships the Answer to Ill-Prepared Workers?

Thousands of young (and older) Southern Californians will be heading to public and private colleges and universities soon (some have already started!) and the question here is: how well do these institutions of higher learning prepare their graduates for real life jobs?

Most college students say “We’re ready!” Employers? They’re saying: “No you aren’t!”

Cypress CA temporary agency

The Association of American Colleges and Universities ran a survey in 2015, finding that 70 percent of college students thought they had the “critical thinking skills needed to succeed in the workplace.” But only about one-third of employers believed new grads were ready for the real world.

A solution? Apprenticeships!

Have you ever offered apprenticeships at your company? Have you ever participated in one as an apprentice?

Most Americans (62 percent) believe that apprenticeships make people “more employable than going to college,” according to a recent American Staffing Association poll.

What’s more, the survey found that 87 percent of adults surveyed thought that “it’s smart” to consider both college and apprenticeships.

Speaking of apprenticeships: California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency in May announced that there are almost 82,000 active apprenticeships in the state. This is up from 53,000 in 2015 (the goal is 100,00o in 2020).

The agency reports that the Golden State has the “nation’s largest and fastest-growing apprenticeship system.”

The state’s program wants to grow apprentice opportunities in transportation/logistics, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and IT.

Has your company hired graduates or students in these apprentice programs? If so, what’s your firm’s experience been with these workers?

We make sure here at Helpmates that our temporary associates are ready to – as the saying goes – “hit the ground running” as soon as they arrive at your worksite. Our temporary associates participate in our Quality Control process to ensure they have the skills you need. What’s more, if our associate doesn’t meet your standards, you don’t pay.

Contact us to learn more about our Employee Quality Assurance Program.

Pay Rates in Southern California

As it becomes harder and harder to find top talent in Southern California, especially for our clients’ temporary workforce needs, we’ve done a little digging regarding what great workers expect in Orange and Los Angeles counties regarding pay rates.

SoCal pay rates

Below are some pay rates for positions we typically fill (from Indeed.com):

  • CSR, Anaheim: $13.82 (14 percent higher than national average)
  • CSR, Aliso Viejo: $14.12 (16 percent higher)
  • CSR, Brea: $14.11 (16 percent higher)
  • CSR, Los Angeles (13.88 (14 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator, Anaheim: $13.52 (7 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator, Buena Park: $13.15 (meets national average)
  • Forklift Operator, Commerce: $12.62 (meets national average)
  • Forklift Operator, Los Angeles: $13.26 (meets national average
  • Administrative Assistant, Anaheim, $16.05 (11 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant, Aliso Viejo, $17.97 (24 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant, Brea: $14.97 (meets national average)
  • Administrative Assistant, Los Angeles: $16.44 (13 percent higher)

Meanwhile, down in San Diego, people in these positions are receiving:

  • CSR: $14.05 (16 percent higher)
  • Forklift Operator: $13.86 (10 percent higher)
  • Administrative Assistant: $16.11 (11 percent above average)

All meet – even exceed – national averages. Which is proper considering that the cost of living in Orange County has an index of 187 (according to Sperling’s Best Places), with 100 considered to be the U.S. average). What’s more, Orange County’s housing index is a whopping 356. Los Angeles County’s overall cost of living index is 156 with its housing index at 283), still far above the average.

If you run or manage a business in Southern California, what are you noticing about how much the better employees in different job sectors are expecting in regards to pay? What’s the minimum they will accept?

If you’d like some help in deciding what the best pay rates will be for your temporary or regular workforce, contact us here at Helpmates. Our expertise (not-so-humble-brag) in the Southern California market is extraordinary and we’ll be happy to help you set rates that will help attract the best workers possible.

The Rise in the Minimum Wage and Your Temporary Workforce

The minimum wage rose to $13.50/hour in Los Angeles in July and will rise to $12/hour in Orange County in January. Couple this with the fact that it’s a hot candidates’ market today with unemployment in Los Angeles at 4.1 percent (in May) and in Orange County at an incredible 2.6 percent (also in May), and the best temporary workers have their pick among assignments.

So if you’re not paying even more than the new minimum wage going forward, you more than likely will find that your staffing partner won’t be able to fill your order because it won’t be able to find quality candidates at that rate.

Top Talent Wants More Than Minimum Wage

The fact that better talent wants more than the new minimum is understandable: not only should better employees be paid more, they often are. And they expect it.

What’s more, if you want a temporary person to stay with you for the duration of his/her assignment (or even work with you on a temp-to-hire assignment), you should pay top talent more in order to keep them working for you: underpaid workers may decide to look for better-paying work. Irvine staffing agency

Investing in top temporary talent by paying a few dollars more is still less than paying for wasted training, productivity and overtime when the best workers leave assignments for better pay.

The average tenure of a temporary employee industry wide is 10.7 weeks (in 2017), but Helpmates’ temporary associates stay with us an average of 17.1 weeks, 60 percent longer!

Billing Rates Need to Rise with the New Minimum Wage

In addition, chances are you might be asking your staffing firm to keep its billing rates low. At first blush, this makes sense from your standpoint: after all, the temporary workers aren’t your employees but the staffing firm’s and one of the reasons a company works with a staffing agency company is to  keep its staffing/workforce costs low.

But your staffing partner’s costs have just increased because the staffing firm has a ton of expenditures that need covering with the money it receives after it subtracts the rate it pays its employee (your temporary worker) and your billable rate:

  • Worker’s compensation
  • Payroll taxes
  • Benefits (to both internal and temporary employees)
  • Recruiting costs
  • Office lease and overhead costs
  • And so on.

Here’s a little-known fact: while you may pay a billable rate of $22.50/hour to your staffing firm and the agency pays its employee $15/hour, you may think that that 50 percent markup is considerable. But don’t forget all the costs the staffing firm needs to cover (as listed above). The reality? A staffing firm’s actual profits “are pennies on the dollar, low single digits.”

Sounds like we’re whining doesn’t it? Yet, just like our clients, staffing companies are in business to make a profit. If we continue to charge you the same but pay our employees more, our already-slim profit margin decreases even more.

Bottom line: the higher minimum wage requirements in Los Angeles and (in January) Orange County will affect the quality of the temporary workers your staffing partner is able to attract and place. You should expect your partner’s billable rate to increase and support its doing so.

In fact, Orange County employers may want to consider raising their own “minimum wage” now because Orange County residents can “cross borders” to work in Los Angeles County cities with the higher minimum – and they probably will.

If you’d like to partner with Certified Staffing Professional experts who have the tools to customize a temporary staffing program that will deliverable favorable results in this challenging market, or if you just want to better understand compensation and billing rates, contact us here at Helpmates: we’ll be happy to chat with you.

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