Employees in the healthcare sector expect their employers to pay more attention to employee well-being, compensation, and working conditions. The ‘Checking the Pulse of Healthcare Workers’ report by job search website Indeed 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.
Many healthcare workers experienced at least one health issue. Indeed’s data revealed anxiety among 60 per cent of the employees; depression among 45 per cent; physical stress among 47 per cent; and burnout among 26 per cent of the survey participants.
Almost 60 per cent of respondents surveyed turned to fellow frontline workers for support and guidance when they were stressed or anxious; 44 per cent raised the issue with their management; and 33 per cent spoke to their family members. Only 11 per cent of workers sought mental health counselling.
Almost 41 per cent of doctors surveyed expected their organisation to pay more attention to mental health and trauma counselling, while 17 per cent of male employees and 11 per cent of female employees sought mental health counselling.
The majority of frontline workers (77 per cent of the nurses and 80 per cent of the doctors) said they wanted a better work environment, with more effective communication.
Nearly 72 per cent of the employers said that the pandemic had had a psychological impact on their employees, with 79 per cent believing that frontline workers (doctors and nurses) were adversely affected and 67 per cent 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 per cent of the employers in the survey cited difficulty in attracting new talent and lower productivity as their top challenges, while 68 per cent pointed to absenteeism, 56 per cent to high attrition and 48 per cent to low employee morale as the main issue plaguing their organisation.
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 per cent) of them – said that one could not avail long leaves during the pandemic despite 49 per cent 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 per cent of all employers, comprising 43 per cent of all the top-tier corporate hospitals, 39 per cent of all mid-tier corporate hospitals, and 31 per cent of all nursing homes are planning to hire.
Continued affinity to work in the sector, despite challenges
Despite Covid-19 infections and burnout, 68 per cent of the respondents indicated a continued preference to work in the sector. Among the respondents, 47 per cent of those with more than a decade of experience, 45 per cent of freshers and jobseekers, and 51 per cent of frontline workers (who happened to be doctors) expressed a strong affinity for the sector. This was because, for 83 per cent of the respondents, healthcare presented a stable, respectable career and handsome remuneration.
Almost 31 per cent were motivated by the humanitarian nature of the job and a sense of purpose, while 22 per cent considered the profession as noble and challenging.“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.