Spotlight On Healthcare: A COVID-Resilient Sector

The recent trend of putting your hands together at the bottom of the drive, or hanging out the kitchen window banging pots and pans began, like the virus, in Wuhan.

Initially meant to raise the spirits of the perpetually cooped up, it quickly became a way for people at home to show their appreciation for front line workers.

It was a different display depending on where you live. Some countries were out for a round of applause every day. Others, once a week. And others had the army dropping flower petals over hospitals.

Whether you could hear it from your neighbour’s balcony, or see it taped to the inside of their living room window, it’s clear:

Support for healthcare workers around the world is in the spotlight.

And as a recruitment market, Healthcare’s one of the few worldwide that’s kept going. Although, granted, it’s had to.

Almost as soon as lockdown was announced, the economy froze. Hiring duly followed, and recruitment – broadly speaking – stopped.

No sector’s managed to navigate COVID completely unscathed. Individual recruitment businesses have been able to manage, but a lot of that’s come down to whether their market’s remained active or not.

As the results of our COVID-19 Recruitment Industry Survey show, Creative Agencies and Events companies are some of the biggest impacted. Hospitality and Catering recruitment has been severely hit.

On the other hand, Healthcare recruiters are more likely to have seen their workloads increase. Particularly if they’re supporting the provision of front-line staff dealing with the virus directly.

“We often think of recruitment as being quite insular. One thing coronavirus has done, is open a dialogue among recruiters. Looking to support each other, sharing knowledge on webinars, doing what they can to keep business going. It’s tough, but we should take pride in what we do.”

“Recruiters are working extremely hard at the moment to keep the economy going.”

I spoke to Andrew Dean, Director of UK-based Healthcare recruitment consultancy Menlo Park, about what COVID’s done to healthcare, what’s next for the sector, and how in spite of all that’s happening, it remains a buoyant and rewarding market to recruit into.

Menlo Park have grown from a team of 2 to 20+ in 5 years, placing over 500 GPs in the process. They boast a retention rate of 97.5% across all clinical positions, so they know frontline healthcare well.

“Coronavirus has completely impacted primary care.”

“GPs are getting to grips with tech they’ve not used before, triaging patients over phone and video. Some surgeries had already adopted new tech while others have struggled.”

In England, most NHS surgeries are offering consultations by video before deciding how to proceed with treatment.

This followed Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock’s assertion that “we have moved to a principle of ‘digital-first’ in primary care and with outpatients, unless there are clinical or practical reasons, all consultations should be done by telemedicine”.

So it’s checkups with your doctor over Zoom for the foreseeable.

But despite the recent pivot to digital being born out of necessity, an ongoing question asked in healthcare circles is one recruiters interested in the AI debate will be familiar with:

Are we going to be replaced by robots?

And the answer’s the same: unlikely.

Will an ageing population really want to configure their camera and microphone settings every time they need to see a doctor? Or is it quicker, easier, and better for everyone, just seeing a human being?

For healthcare workers: is remote triaging how the job should ultimately evolve? And what other changes to “healthtech” will we see in the near future, if not before the end of the current crisis?

The market is changing. Precisely how is still a mystery. But it will have an impact on job roles in the future, and the recruiters working them.

“Digital innovation in healthcare shouldn’t replace professionals. It should amplify their capability, and enable them to do more valuable patient-facing work.”

The Future of Healthcare

“The market’s ripe for innovation. The NHS invested millions into digitising it’s services. Then coronavirus happened, and further funding’s been approved.”

“There’s a lot of investment happening in healthcare at the moment.”

As healthcare goes digital, new products rely as much on system architects, software developers, and project managers as they do clinicians and healthcare professionals to get into patient’s hands.

Which is just one way the market’s set to change over the coming years.

“Life expectancy’s continuing to rise. So key concerns for new healthtech products are prevention and early intervention.”

“Innovative technologies will continue to improve access to healthcare – literally upgrading the patient experience – with a particular emphasis on wellbeing. The result being that patients become more engaged, better-judged consumers of healthcare.”

Every single person on Earth will need healthcare during their lifetime. Usually right at the beginning and the very end, and certainly at points throughout, if not constantly.

So as a recruiter, there will always be an industry for you to support. Even during a global pandemic.

And the candidates healthcare recruiters place – and the organisations they place them into – are the ones keeping us alive. Today, and every day.

Menlo Park have hired three people since lockdown began. And they’re looking to add further headcount, to build out desks in new areas of HealthTech.

At the time of writing, there are three active job slots on their Hunted profile. Check them out for more on each one.

And a huge thanks to Andrew for his time and insight putting this article together.