Healthcare IT Job Growth Projected in 2017

The IT hiring outlook for 2017 is a bit muddled according to two recent surveys, but overall demand for healthcare IT professionals should show continued strength into the New Year.

The latest Dice survey of IT hiring managers showed 69 percent plan on more hiring in the first half of 2017. While that’s good news, it is a 10 point drop from last year’s survey.

Employers in the broader economy who recruit across all professions expressed similar reservations, with 56 percent saying they planned on increased hiring over the next several months—a five-point dip from November 2015, according to the similar survey from DHI Group, Dice’s parent company.

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Half of hiring managers in the Dice report say it’s taking longer to fill open IT roles relative to the previous year. Reasons cited include an inability to find qualified candidates for open roles and a desire by managers to wait for candidates with the perfect combination of skills.

Healthcare is predicted to be the leading industry driving high-tech job growth in 2017, according to a new Robert Half report.  Similarly, U.S. Department of Labor data show that technology roles within the healthcare industry are expected to be one of the fastest-growing occupational groups from 2014 to 2024.

Top IT roles for salary growth in 2017, according to Robert Half include Data Scientists (+6.4%), Big Data Engineers (+5.8%), Network Security Engineers (+5.7%), and Network Security Administrators (+5.1%).

Outlook for Consultants

Healthcare IT consultants with skills supporting Epic and Cerner, the predominant Electronic Medical Records systems, will still be in high demand in 2017, according to Healthcare IT Leaders principal, Brad Elster.

“The volume of large EMR implementations (a key driver of consultant demand) has slowed from the peak of a few years ago, but there are still major new projects planned at several health systems in 2017,” said Elster.

“Several hospitals continue to change vendors or plan upgrades to their existing systems, all of which bodes well for developers, engineers, project managers and trainers with deep experience on Epic and Cerner implementations.”

Mergers and consolidations also continue to spawn job opportunities in health IT, says Elster, as health systems plan spending to bring acquired hospitals onto the system’s preferred technology platform.