Sr. Director of Marketing
26 December 2020
In the last few decades, healthcare workers have rarely been thrust into the spotlight as they have been in 2020. During the heat of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the number of affected patients growing exponentially on a daily basis, hospitals and healthcare institutions were overwhelmed.
Ironically, however, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1.4 million healthcare jobs were lost in April. Dentist offices (503,000), physician offices (243,000), other practitioner offices (205,000), hospitals (135,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (113,000) laid off the highest number of workers during this period. Healthcare institutions were forced into conducting large scale layoffs in a bid to deal with massive revenue losses, triggered by a mandated halt on elective medical procedures.
Data from Adzuna.com, a leading global job site, reveals that healthcare and nursing jobs fell by a whopping 63% at their peak. These have been slower to recover than jobs in other sectors. In November, vacancies in the category stood at about 28% lower than those during pre-pandemic levels.
We analyzed millions of U.S. healthcare and nursing jobs powered by the Joveo platform every day to understand fluctuations in demand through 2020.
Our analysis showed that the average annual Cost per Click (CPC) shot up by 50% in 2020 compared to 2019, indicative of higher overall demand for healthcare and nursing professionals this year. The increased CPC, combined with declining Click to Apply (CTA) conversion rates, resulted in a 106% surge in Cost per Applicant (CPA).
In other words, healthcare institutions today need to spend more than two times what they had to in 2019, to source applicants. The month-on-month trends across CPC, CPA, and CTA (below) illustrate how competitive demand soared sharply toward the latter half of the year, more than compensating for the reduced demand earlier in the year (around March, April, and May).
In April and May, as the number of vacancies declined, the CPC rates for these months followed suit. However, around June, healthcare institutions started ramping back up and filling open positions. As they re-hired a large volume of candidates, CPCs shot up once again in response to aggressive bidding, driven by rebounding demand.
However, CTA rates fell in June and July, as candidates explored more opportunities and clicked on several jobs before filling out applications. This is typically an effect of a large number of new vacancies flooding the recruitment ecosystem.
The reduced CTA rates caused average CPAs to go up significantly during this period, following a temporary dip during the first half of the year. Starting August, CPAs grew slightly and linearly through to the end of the year.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to stress healthcare systems and cases continue to rise, the cost to acquire healthcare and nursing applicants is set to remain high in the foreseeable future.
The impact of the vaccine on overall demand across healthcare jobs and the cost to acquire qualified candidates remains to be seen.
Watch this space for more insights as well as our full report on the State of Recruitment Advertising in 2021, to be published soon!