Several years after the pandemic and the emergence of the infamous Great Resignation, talent acquisition and retention remains a challenge for healthcare businesses, according to a recent report out of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

More than 80% of healthcare executives report they have difficulty hiring and retaining talent, considering it a moderate or serious risk to their business, according to PwC’s latest Pulse Survey. That level of concern exceeds the 71% of executives in all industries who believe talent acquisition and retention is still a challenge.

Clinician burnout and healthcare worker shortages — in addition to higher patient demand — are some of the factors contributing to the talent acquisition difficulties in healthcare, the survey found. 

Additionally, general economic pressures and inflation are contributing to this trend and may lead to an uptick of 7% in medical costs in 2024, PwC’s report found.

As a result, healthcare leaders are seeking to switch up traditional business models — as well as further invest in technology — to help prevent a continued talent drain. 

One example is by leaning into improved patient care automation, which can help nurses boost their time spent with patients while lowering their time spent on administrative tasks. The report’s authors also pointed to innovative tech like AI and digital tools that could reduce on-site resources.

“Building the talent pipeline, tailoring benefits, redefining the care team and model, and setting an aggressive digital- and automation-led agenda to improve productivity are some strategies,” the report noted.

In addition, “tech-led collaborations” can serve as sources of innovation for healthcare organizations, enable better clinician staffing and improve diagnosing and treating patients through the use of at-home blood tests, telepathology, medical imaging and data repositories, the report added.

The Great Resignation — which was a prominent economic trend throughout 2021 and 2022 — was defined by a significant increase in people quitting their jobs, following the turbulence and fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

During that time, employees began questioning what they were seeking from their jobs — and the labor market experienced a reshuffling.

Physician burnout, meanwhile, has predated the pandemic and continues to pose a risk to the healthcare industry. 

One recent report from Accenture found that the current healthcare provider shortage — involving a dearth of up to 48,000 primary care physicians — is “unsustainable” in the long-term.

In that report, the authors argued that “the industry simply can’t hire and train its way out of this conundrum,” and that a long-term solution will require the industry to “reimagine work and the workforce, enable technology and transform how care is delivered.”