A key component of ensuring that a system as complex as a hospital functions smoothly is ensuring that all of these diversely skilled employees are paid fairly. But how can an HR professional assign dollar values to all of the skills required to run such a sprawling organization?
For many people the thought of working in healthcare conjures images of lab coats, emergency rooms and entanglements with impossibly dreamy doctors, but the reality is much less glamorous. As in every other industry, there are bills to pay, email accounts to set up, and light bulbs to replace. From food service workers to frontline fundraisers, non-clinical support staff are essential for creating high-functioning hospitals and ensuring high-quality patient care, even though their day-to-day may not make for gripping television.
At the most basic level, a medical facility is a large building that comes with the same maintenance needs as any other large building (and many more, in addition), so the healthcare system faces the same baseline facilities needs as any other employer. At the same time, many healthcare organizations in the US, particularly hospitals, are nonprofit organizations. As such, they face the same challenges any other nonprofit would. They have to hire fundraisers, run campaigns, allocate limited resources and so on. All this, with the added responsibility of caring for patients.
Without the benefit of high-quality data, accurately pricing the countless skills demanded by these diverse jobs is just about impossible. In this post, we shed light on some of the highest paying non-clinical skills in healthcare.
Using Data to Disentangle Skills
Following up on our previous analysis of the highest paying nursing skills, we used PayScale’s crowd-sourced salary data and proprietary compensation model to measure the effect of different skills on pay for non-clinical workers in healthcare. More than 120,000 people in non-clinical roles in healthcare responded to PayScale’s salary survey between May 2014 and May 2018 (see Notes).We then used our compensation model to predict each individual’s pay with their skills, and then without those skills. Observing the difference between these two predictions gives us an estimate of how much each individual skill is worth.
Our compensation model allows us to remove the effects of other factors that affect pay such as specific job title, years of experience, and certifications. Therefore, we are able to precisely answer the question “By what percentage does skill x alone change a worker’s pay?”
Hospitals Need One of Everything
Among non-clinical employees, the healthcare system values a mix of skills that relate to the unique space they occupy between private company, nonprofit, and healthcare provider. Utilization review is a skill that is specific to healthcare: Navigating the intricacies and vagaries of hundreds of different insurance providers’ standards of care. It is an understandably valuable skill, and is the definitive leader in our rankings, boosting pay by 10.6 percent. Account sales comes in at a close second at 9.4 percent, followed by major gifts fundraising at 8.3 percent.
Top Paying Non-Clinical Skills in Healthcare
|Utilization Review (UR)||10.6%|
|Major Gifts Fundraising||8.3%|
|401k Plan Administration||6.4%|
|Epic Information Systems (Radiant, Stork, etc.)||6.1%|
Hospitals occupy a unique space in the labor market, combining the needs of nonprofits, private companies, and healthcare practitioners, and that is reflected in the data. For example, the high value of major gifts fundraising is likely a reflection of hospitals’ reliance on private donations, whereas skills like generalist duties and property management are necessary functions for countless private companies. Interestingly, there are only two healthcare-specific skills in our top ten. Aside from Utilization Review, knowledge of Epic Systems’ software is the only healthcare-specific skill to make the cut.
Pricing Non-Clinical Skills Fairly Requires Surgical Precision
Because our model controls for all other compensable factors, we can confidently say that we have observed the effect of skills and the magnitude of their impact on earnings. Since no one skill dominates the list, as obstetric anesthesiology did in the nurse-specific list, the common thread seems to be simply that each of these skills is necessary for a healthcare system to function well. Overall, this list is a reflection of how diversely-skilled the non-clinical workforce must be for healthcare systems to run smoothly.
Both of these analyses underscore how important it is for a healthcare system to understand the value of its employees skills and set pay accordingly. If an employee earns $50,000 annually, a 10.6 percent pay boost is an extra $5,300 per year. Workers now have more data than ever at their fingertips, and will know if they are being paid unfairly. Fair pay is critical to employee engagement and retention. Therefore,ensuring that you’ve priced your skills accurately across your organization must be a core component of your comp strategy.
We defined workers in non-clinical roles as anyone whose role was outside of the two healthcare SOC codes (“29-0000 Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations” and “31-0000 Healthcare Support Occupations”).