A healthy career choice: Healthcare Industry update, 2014

A healthy career choice: Healthcare Industry update, 2014

The healthcare industry is a booming business. Medical advancement has led to more people living longer lives. Life expectancy has increased from 68.2 years in 1950 to 76.6 years in 2000 and is expected to soar to 83.9 years by 2050. But lifestyle choices and environmental conditions have also led to more complicated ailments.

The healthcare industry has changed dramatically over the past five years. People are requiring more healthcare services than they did in the past. Rapid urbanisation, sedentary lifestyles and a rise in obesity are contributing to increases in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases across the globe. The healthcare industry is projected to continue to change each year, making it a fertile field of opportunity. Today, there are many career avenues within the medical and healthcare profession, not all of them connected to the traditional doctor-nurse roles.

Healthcare Industry Professionals

A career no longer restricted to doctors and nurses, development in technological and scientific equipment offers increasing career options in the medical field. There is pressure on hospitals to become more efficient. The healthcare system needs medical billers, transcriptionists, coders, pharmacy technicians, and much more manpower at hospitals, outpatient clinics and nursing homes than ever before.

25% of the world’s population will be over 60 years of age by 2025. Of that population, approximately 70% will suffer from at least one chronic disease. These statistics show the need for qualified professionals to take on the challenge of providing care and attention to these millions of patients.


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Healthcare jobs continue to rise

There is substantial demand for skilled and experienced healthcare workers, but not enough candidates to fill these positions.

Education is a crucial criterion for employment; most employers will look closely at your educational credentials. Western education and training is highly sought-after and these qualifications are in very high demand in every corner of the world. The dire demand globally is for healthcare providers with a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree; in fact, a 4-year Bachelor’s degree is necessary for most licensing authorities around the world.

Recession-proof careers

Anyone seeking a job in healthcare should grab at any opportunity to learn about new technology. Healthcare workers can chart an ideal career growth strategy if they are willing to relocate overseas. Jobs in specialist areas with a sub-specialty are in increased demand, e.g. pediatric oncology, oncology/ BMT nurses.

Medical Students

Jobs with increased demand are health information management as well as care management.  These roles have a direct impact not only on hospital systems and outcomes, but also the patient experience. Consulting roles in clinical integration and outcomes management are in high demand for both permanent and contracted placement.

Some of the in-demand roles are:

There has been a dramatic increase in demand for doctors and supporting staff (registered nurses, physicians’ assistants, and allied health professionals). Primary care providers continue to remain in high demand because they concentrate their practice on general medicine. Recruitment for specialists, on the other hand, is competitive because there are generally fewer specialists available in a particular field.

Shortages in primary care physicians, rising costs, and standardization of protocols and technology, will bring about dramatic changes in who treats patients – with more emphasis on nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants, and others who aren’t MDs.


Nursing posts in Informatics are in demand as hospitals move towards using smart technology. Home healthcare nurses are also in demand due to the ageing population and shorter hospital stay lengths. Nurses with Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BsN) degrees are believed to have greater critical thinking – a skill crucial for the responsibility levels the nurse needs to handle. In especially high demand are nurses and healthcare professionals who have worked at credentialed facilities.


Biomedical engineer
A combination of engineering expertise and specialized medical knowledge, most biomedical engineers work for device companies that make medical equipment – everything from surgical tools to MRI machines. Offering an annual median salary of US $87,000, the field is expected to grow by a whopping 62% in the next 10 years.

Biomedical Engineer

Dental hygienist
This career path is known to be low-stress and most hygienists can decide their own schedule. The comfortable surroundings and high level of job security make it the second best healthcare job today. Education of just a two-year associate’s degree can bring you an annual median salary of US $70,000 with projected growth of 38% until 2020.

Dental Hygienist

Occupational therapist
A 9-to-5 scheduled vocation, occupational therapists help people in physically demanding jobs like construction, firefighting, etc. get back to work. They have leeway to determine their own level of commitment, and yet earn a median annual income of US $75,000 with projected growth of 33% until 2020.

Occupational Therapist

Home health aide
Home aides have the most physically demanding and emotionally draining jobs. But they make a huge difference in the lives of the people they care for. One of the most meaningful and important health care jobs, there is a projected demand growth of 70% for these jobs until 2020.

Home Health Aide

Other career options in the healthcare industry:

Occupation Annual median salary Projected job growth
Pharmacist $117,000 25%
Podiatrist $116,000 20%
Optometrist $98,000 33%
Physician assistant $91,000 30%
Physical therapist $80,000 39%
Chiropractor $66,000 28%
Speech pathologist $70,000 23%


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Geographies to consider

UAE/ Dubai

The UAE’s healthcare sector will be worth Dh 4 billion (US $1.09 billion) by 2018, according to a report by Colliers International. The growing population in the country will trigger demand for doctors, nurses, clinics and hospitals. Within 5 years, the population is set to touch 12.2 million people and demand for private health care services will expand by 37%. Chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and an ageing population too will contribute to growth in this sector, as 80% of healthcare requirements typically occur after the age of 50. As of today, there are only 2.7 nurses and 1.5 doctors per 1000 people, even as medical spending remains among the highest expenditures in the Middle East. Not surprisingly, UAE faces a severe crunch of qualified health professionals to run the show.

Within the UAE, Dubai is the top place to live and work. Job profiles in demand here are:

  • Neurologists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Pediatricians/ neonatologists
  • Obstetricians/ gynecologists
  • Speech language pathologists
  • Endocrinologists
  • Internal medicine specialists
  • Physicians
  • Radiographers
  • Lab technicians
  • Nurses
  • Hospital administrators/ managers
  • Marketing executives
Dubai, UAE

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Ministry of Health has started a huge recruitment drive for 3,500 expat medical professionals for vacancies in hospitals across the Kingdom. The majority of staff, including doctors and nurses, will be recruited from India, Pakistan and Egypt. Over 50% of healthcare workers in the Kingdom are from overseas, according to figures released by Riyadh’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Saudi Arabia, Middle East

United States

As the nation’s largest private industry sector, healthcare accounts for 13% of the total U.S. workforce and is expected to grow significantly over the next several years. 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day. This rapidly ageing population is primarily responsible for this upward trend. There is an expanding range of new treatment options and new technology available for healthcare.

United States

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates nearly half of the 30 fastest-growing occupations from 2012 to 2022 will be healthcare-related i.e. 15.6 million US job gains for home health aides, physician’s assistants, occupational therapy assistants and dental hygienists.

The Affordable Care Act of 2013 has propelled the healthcare industry further. Data indicates, however, that the U.S. is not producing enough new doctors and nurses to accommodate this demand. The latest projection from the Association of American Medical Colleges forecasts an 8% physician shortage in 2015, rising to 14% by 2025. The unemployment rate for Registered Nurses has been below 2%, indicating they will remain in tight supply.

The healthcare occupations that have grown the most since 2012 include registered nurses (50,798 new jobs), home health aides (49,530), nursing assistants (13,097) and medical assistants (11,275).

Asia Pacific Region (APAC)

These are exciting times for healthcare in APAC. In 2013, total healthcare spending in the region was estimated at about US $1.34 trillion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.5% over the next five years to reach $2.21 trillion in 2018.

China, Asia Pacific Region (APAC)

With the exception of Australia and Japan (both sophisticated and mature markets), the healthcare industry in the region is primarily focused on treatment rather than diagnostics. Consequently, there is a strong tug towards using simplistic frugal products that are easy to use and require less administration and training time.

But the trend is changing and according to Frost & Sullivan research, by 2025, therapeutics will decline to approximately 35% of total global spending while diagnostics and prediction will increase to 28% and 22% cumulatively.

Expenditure on healthcare in countries such as China and India will continue to rise in line with their economic growth, and they will become big markets for healthcare companies. Hospitals and clinics with competent and caring staff will be more in demand here.

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