Innovative talent will ensure the future of home care
Since a long time, the healthcare sector has been suffering from talent shortages, and this has only got worse in recent weeks.
Shortage of nursing personnel due to Covid-19 has caused an increase of 18% in the number of vacancies in the healthcare sector in the past six weeks, compared to the same period last year.
But the healthcare sector is obviously more than just nursing staff. Our Belgian population is ageing: no less than 1 in 5 is over 65 and, according to the Federal Planning Bureau, this percentage will increase to 26% in 2050. The need for (home) care will therefore increase even more.
The future of healthcare implies that companies will have to invest more in unconventional ways, such as new digital and automated home care systems. Investing in 'agile human capital' such as research & development specialists, innovation managers and commercial leaders is essential to prepare for the future.
We asked Julide Tunali, Senior Manager in the Engineering & Supply Chain - Healthcare & Life Sciences division at recruitment specialist Robert Walters, what the future of the healthcare sector holds, and more specifically why innovative talent is essential to guarantee efficient home care in the future.
Which professionals are most sought after in the healthcare sector?
Julide: "In addition to nurses and other medical staff, there has been a shortage of technical profiles, engineers and research, development & innovation specialists for years, in order to develop medical equipment supporting the work of home care workers. Our Belgian hospitals generally have high-tech equipment at their disposal, but within home care, investments in medical equipment are often reduced to a minimum. Think, for example, of robots and artificial intelligence: that's really still in its infancy in home care at the moment.”
How come there is so little attention paid to home care?
"Home care has never been a top priority in terms of investment and is not the most attractive sector for many to work in. This urgently needs to change. In some countries such as Japan, for example, it is very common for elderly people to be cared for at home rather than in a residential care centre. In these Corona times, we sometimes see family members taking their parents & grandparents away from residential care centres to take care of them at home, despite the fact that home care assistance cannot offer the same level of care as in a residential care centre or a hospital.”
What about the inflow of talent?
"Today's R&D specialists, engineers and technicians are also getting older and will soon be leaving the job market. As a result, a lot of know-how and expertise will also disappear. Belgium is the heart of Europe and should also be so in terms of expertise and innovation within the healthcare sector. We’re slowly getting there, but young people are currently too little encouraged to opt for a technical field of study or a R&D-oriented training. Talent from abroad also plays an important role in the evolution of home care. In order to cope with the increasing need to develop equipment and materials for home care, it is important for organisations to look beyond national borders. More than ever, a strong employer brand is important for organisations who want to invest in talent for home care.”
What advice can you give professionals and organisations about working in home care?
"Students or professionals with a medical background sometimes decide at a certain point in their career to take a different path, away from the purely medical aspect. Very often we see, for example, doctors with commercial flair switching to a sales or marketing management position in healthcare, and we can only encourage that, because their knowledge and skills are invaluable. Life expectancy will increase to 90 years for women and 88 years for men by 2070. This means that in the coming years, more attention and money will go to healthcare, with home care in particular.
Professionals with a more technical education or background who want to benefit the most from their know-how and expertise in a growing sector, should definitely consider a job in the healthcare or home care sector. A big plus: salaries in the healthcare sector are generally higher than in other sectors, so for those who are looking for a well-paid and challenging job in an innovative sector , there are many exciting career opportunities available.
Organisations that help determine the future of the healthcare sector must therefore invest now in the necessary talent, like innovation managers and technical portfolio managers in particular. Professionals with a technical background and commercial skills who will work closely with the R&D team will be essential to take the future of home care to a higher level. Investing in education and training for staff and future employees and focusing on a strong employer brand will help organisations - with the right talent on board - to realise the future of optimal home care.”
On the lookout?
Looking for a new career in healthcare? Check out our latest healthcare jobs and apply today.
Need to recruit a healthcare professional for your team? Contact Julide Tunali or upload your vacancy.