Metro Detroit Hospitals Face Aging Workforce, Inexperienced Job Applicants


A yearlong survey released today of several health systems in southeast Michigan reveals an aging workforce and a lack of experienced job applicants are the major challenges facing area health care employers in the coming years.

“We are focusing on the health system needs because they are the fastest growing and the largest of our employment sectors,” says Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. “This professional review of the health systems’ future needs will be an indispensable aid to the health community as it adjusts to an aging workforce.”Other major concerns cited by survey participants included a sometimes-negative perception of southeast Michigan for attracting recruits (including the cold weather), and insufficient clinical space for learning opportunities.

The 32-page report — commissioned by Oakland County and conducted by Rochester-based EdEn Inc. — surveyed Beaumont Health System, Henry Ford Health System, McLaren Health Care, Oakwood Healthcare, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, and the University of Michigan Health System.

Proposed solutions centered on two key factors: the need for more nurses, whether through the creation of additional schools or programming; and the ability to introduce newly trained or educated health care workers to a dynamic workplace environment.

The respondents also suggested health care systems work more closely with school guidance counselors and Michigan Works agencies to screen potential candidates and gauge their interest in the health profession.

“It’s important to not simply talk about the need, but to roll up your sleeves and do the difficult work,” says Deputy Oakland County Executive Matthew Gibb.

To read the full report, released during the Inno-vention 2014: A Medical Main Street Conference, visit