MSP Metro Workforce Report May 10 – 16, 2020
Each week, RealTime Talent highlights the critical needs of employers in the 7-County Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro (MSP) by lifting up the top jobs, skills, and certifications advertised by employers, as well as the top locations that employers are advertising openings aligned with five of the region’s most critical sectors. Each sector is comprised of a family of like-occupations that from a function and career pathway standpoint are related to one-another. These reports focus on jobs that require an Associate’s degree or less, and include an in-depth analysis on one occupation each week that is high-demand, high-opportunity, and/or high-growth.
This week, we highlight a critical occupation that MSP employers have unique and complex needs for right now: Certified Nursing Assistants. We will dig into what the current job market looks like, how demand has shifted over time for these critical entry-level frontline healthcare workers, and what new initiatives are emerging to help fill essential CNA positions right now.
1 SOURCE: All data in this section is from new jobs posted online in the 7-county Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro between May 10-16, 2020. Data includes staffing agencies and represents dedulplicated new job posts from all corporate websites and job boards. Trend comparison to a prior period refers to the week immediately prior. All data was gathered from TalentNeuron Recruit, www.wantedanalytics.com on May 24, 2020.
2 All sectors are defined as job families that are related by skills, competencies, and career pathways, with the exception of Government jobs. The Government sector is identified by city, county, regional, and state government employers.
Occupations in Focus: CERTIFIED NURSING ASSISTANTS
One of the entry-level healthcare positions with some of the most complex hiring needs right now—not only in the metro, but nationwide—is the Nursing Assistant occupation.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Certified Nursing Assistants were expected to remain in high demand in the MSP Metro, though not necessarily as an occupation of high shortage. Approximately 17,184 people worked as Nursing Assistants in the 7-county region as of the fourth quarter of 2019, making an average wage of $35,900. Unemployment rates in this occupation were relatively low overall, though one of the highest unemployment rates locally among healthcare occupations (3.3%). The table below illustrates how Nursing Assistant employment statistics compare to some other comparable healthcare aide and assistant occupations (SOC 31-1000).
Over the next five years, it is expected that at least 58% of current Certified Nursing Assistants will need to be replaced with new talent due to job changes, retirements, and people leaving the workforce. In addition, the region is expected to see growth of 650 new Certified Nursing Assistant opportunities over the next five years (annual average growth of 0.7%), at a minimum. Compared to occupations overall in the MSP Metro, the Certified Nursing Assistant occupation (and other direct service healthcare careers) has a high demand to employment ratio: a high volume of positions that will need to be filled by the end of 2024 in relation to the current number of people employed in these careers.
Nursing Assistants provide basic patient care under direction of nursing staff and perform duties such as feed, bathe, dress, groom, or move patients, or change linens. They may also transfer or transport patients. In order to work as a Nursing Assistant, it is necessary to have a certification. However, some employers are able to hire individuals working toward their certification, provided that they successfully complete their studies and pass the qualifying exam within a specified time period.
Despite a dip in total volume of new Certified Nursing Assistant jobs in April 2020, older adult services and long-term care providers continue to have strong demand for talent. Across positions advertised on any job board in the region between May 1, 2019 and April 30, 2020, volumes of newly-posted positions advertised by older adult services providers held steady in volume compared to previous years at about 750 new jobs advertised in that 12-month period (up 0.4% from the prior 12-month period). Across all employer types, there were 5,232 Nursing Assistant roles newly advertised from May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020, plus another 225 advertised by staffing agencies locally (overall, volumes up 9% from the prior 12-month period).
 New jobs are positions that were newly posted on a platform during the specified time frame. Available jobs means the position was active on a website during the specified time frame, and may have been posted earlier than the time frame.
In addition to requiring certification as a Nursing Assistant, certifications in CPR, Basic Life Support, and as a Trained Medication Aide are also in demand from recruiting employers. A Nursing Assistant certification is one of the few healthcare certifications that 16 year olds can obtain and use in the workplace in right away. Students that pass core coursework and are at least 16 years of age by the start date of the course can be eligible to begin studying to be a Certified Nursing Assistant. In addition, these educational credits can often be applied to future healthcare education. Nursing Assistant Certification costs about $1,000 on average per individual (depending on the institution), plus testing fees (currently $219 per test). A number of metro employers already have internal strategies for upskilling and advancing their Nursing Assistant talent (such as partnership with the MN Department of Labor’s PIPELINE Program), so many students could begin their healthcare career as a Nursing Assistant as early as high school, continue to become a Licensed Practical Nurse through an employer program by age 19, and seek out tuition reimbursement to complete a 2- or 4-year Registered Nursing degree.