It’s no secret that there is huge demand for Home Health Aides across the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics put out a report early last year, and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) followed suit in June 2016 with their article, “H is for Home Health Aide.” But will these positions be attractive to future workers who will have increasingly more choice in our nation’s job market and are looking for opportunities that offer a living wage and professional advancement? Maybe not, unless employers start changing what they offer.
As many Minnesotans age and require additional medical attention (the population of Minnesotans over 65 years of age will increase by more than 400,000 people between 2014 and 2024), the need for Healthcare Support Professionals is increasing rapidly. Couple that with a growing preference to receive care in the home rather than in a care facility, the demand for Home Health Aides is skyrocketing. In 2016, there were approximately 27,550 Home Health Aides working in the state and 4,457 Home Health Aide job openings advertised online; the occupation ranks as the 21st most in-demand position and the 20th most common occupation in Minnesota today. Demand is projected to grow by 30.1 percent (9,254 jobs) between 2014 and 2024–the third highest growth rate of any occupation in Minnesota. However, these positions offer some of the lowest salaries of any occupation in the healthcare industry, with a median wage of $24,944 and currently advertised positions only offering $20-26k as a starting salary–just barely hitting the threshold for a living wage for a single adult ($11.39 in Hennepin County). There may be little incentive to encourage workers to take on these roles as the number of job opportunities begins to exceed the number of available workers in the laborforce.
We are already observing high rates of job vacancies in entry-level healthcare positions that require an Associate’s degree or less. Online job postings in the Twin Cities Metro for low-experience, low-education Licensed Practical Nurses and Home Health Aides have increased more than 7% since 2015, dramatically greater than other entry-level healthcare opportunities. Hennepin County was home to 24% of the state’s total entry-level healthcare positions in 2016.
As Minnesota continues to face changing demographics, how will employers respond to ensure that they attract the candidates they need? Hopefully, we will start to see rising wages for entry-level healthcare positions.
For more data on healthcare occupations at the Twin Cities and Statewide level, check out our reports page.