Editorial Team

Indeed, the world’s #1 job site today launched its new report “Checking the Pulse of Healthcare Workers”. The report studies the impact of the Covid-19 on employment in the healthcare sector, with a focus on frontline workers. The report’s finding suggests that healthcare workers, who have been at the forefront of fighting the pandemic, are among the worst-affected – facing burnout, stress and inadequate safety measures at their workplace. The report by Indeed attempts to identify issues weighing down the sector, as well as the green shoots that could help it rebound in the days ahead.

Mental health counseling is a recognized need

Employees in the healthcare sector expect their employers to pay more attention to employee wellbeing, compensation, and working conditions.

Many healthcare workers experienced at least one health issue. Indeed’s data revealed anxiety among 60% of the employees; depression among 45%; physical stress among 47%; and burnout among 26% of the survey participants.

Almost 60% of respondents surveyed turned to fellow frontline workers for support and guidance when they were stressed or anxious; 44% raised the issue with their management; and 33% spoke to their family members. Only 11% of workers sought mental health counseling. This percentage isn’t very encouraging for a community of frontline workers who have been impacted the most in this pandemic. Almost 41% of doctors surveyed expected their organization to pay more attention to mental health and trauma counseling, while 17% of male employees and 11% of female employees sought mental health counseling.

The majority of frontline workers (77% of the nurses and 80% of the doctors) said they wanted a better work environment, with more effective communication. As many as 68% of male employees and 51% of female employees expected better compensation.

Employers, by and large, tend to agree. Nearly 72% of the employers said that the pandemic had had a psychological impact on their employees, with 79% believing that frontline workers (doctors and nurses) were adversely affected and 67% stating that that pandemic had adversely affected the support staff too. There is thus a clear need to support the mental wellness of frontline workers, recognized both by employees and employers.

Hiring challenges faced by employers; wages and downtime impacted

The pandemic posed several challenges for employers too. As many as 92% of the employers in the survey cited difficulty in attracting new talent and lower productivity as their top challenges, while 68% pointed to absenteeism, 56% to high attrition and 48% to low employee morale as the main issue plaguing their organization.

Moreover, as in other industries, salaries and increments in the healthcare sector too were adversely impacted. Only half of all employees in the survey had received salary increments in the past 18 months, while half of all female employees had received salary increments that were lower than the norm.

Weary healthcare workers – more than half (53%) of them – said that one could not avail long leaves during the pandemic despite 49% of their employers proactively offering them long leaves.

Even after going through a tough time since the pandemic began, the sentiment among employers and employees in the healthcare sector remains positive. Almost 34% of all employers, comprising 43% of all the top-tier corporate hospitals, 39% of all mid-tier corporate hospitals, and 31% of all nursing homes are planning to hire. The report suggests that the healthcare sector will continue to be attractive two years from now for almost 66% of all employees – almost equal to the percentage of those who find it attractive today. This group comprises female employees (42%) and doctors (61%), and 49% of employees with over a decade of experience in the sector. For 48% of freshers, though, the sector will be less or least attractive two years from now.

Continued affinity to work in the sector, despite challenges

Despite Covid-19 infections and burnout, 68% of the respondents indicated a continued preference to work in the sector. Among the respondents, 47% of those with more than a decade of experience, 45% of freshers and jobseekers, and 51% of frontline workers (who happened to be doctors) expressed a strong affinity for the sector. This was because, for 83% of the respondents, healthcare presented a stable, respectable career and handsome remuneration. Almost 31% were motivated by the humanitarian nature of the job and a sense of purpose, while 22% considered the profession as noble and challenging.

The sector continues to be attractive

“The future looks as bright as the healthcare industry wants it to be – and it largely rests with the employers in the sector,” said Sashi Kumar, Head of Sales, Indeed India, as he launched the report.  “The pandemic has underscored the importance of strengthening healthcare systems, and governments across the world are focusing their efforts in this direction. One must note the remedial measures the government is taking – the Union Budget of India for 2021-22 proposed an outlay for health and well-being, a substantial increase of 137 percent from the previous year! While policy changes are welcome, it is equally important to address the real challenges faced by employers and employees. Our report identifies the issues that need to be addressed to have a sustainable ecosystem for the healthcare sector. While the need for providing a better work environment; offering mental and physical health support; bridging skill gaps; and hiring and retaining talent are essential for all sectors, they are all the more relevant for a vitally important sector like healthcare.”

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