Key considerations before entering new healthcare staffing markets

By Ziv Tepman

Whether you’re thinking of entering the healthcare staffing arena for the first time, looking to open additional branches or just seeking to expand your sales focus to buyers in a new region, the decision of which geographic locations to target can be quite complex. Here are several factors to consider.

Healthcare institutions. All other things equal, an area with more healthcare organizations is more likely to avail itself of your staffing services. It is important to examine all categories of healthcare providers as potential prospects. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) divides the healthcare industry into ambulatory healthcare, hospitals, and nursing and residential care facilities. Ambulatory healthcare includes providers such as doctor offices, outpatient clinics, and home healthcare services. Consider the number of each type of institution and look for trends. Watch out for locations with declining numbers, and pay special attention to regions that are growing and accelerating. This type of area-specific data can be found in the BLS’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).

Number of jobs. The number of healthcare industry jobs is not the same as the number of jobs in healthcare occupations. For example, according to the BLS, only about 66 percent of hospital jobs fall into the category of healthcare occupations. Nevertheless, healthcare industry job levels and trends provide a good proxy for healthcare occupations, and this data is refreshed by the BLS more frequently than occupational data. Area-specific figures for healthcare industry employment can be found in the BLS’s QCEW, and occupation counts can be found in the BLS’ Occupational Employment Statistics.

Healthcare job openings. It is possible to browse area-specific online job postings across the country with a few keystrokes. Search online job boards and employer website postings, paying particular attention to “temporary” and “contract” openings, and count the number of search results regularly to look for enduring trends. Or employ computerized tools that quantify online job postings by location and occupation. Some organizations publish these figures. While the level of accuracy of such software is mixed, it can provide some sense of whether job opening levels have been especially strong for healthcare occupations in a particular area.

Healthcare professionals. Unless you are in the traveler business, to succeed in a new location, there should be a significant number of healthcare professionals in or around the area looking for a job. But this can be difficult to track for a couple of reasons. Not everyone looking for a job posts their résumé online, and the BLS does not report local unemployment numbers broken down by occupation. Nonetheless, searching and counting healthcare résumé postings can provide some insight, and some software tools are available to quantify these postings.

Market size. It is also important to assess the current prevalence of temporary staffing activity in the region of interest. Obtain an estimate of the annual revenue from healthcare staffing in the location you are considering. One source of such estimates is Staffing Industry Analysts’ Geographic Opportunity Atlas, a proprietary research report available to corporate members on

Competition. No assessment of expansion possibilities would be complete without a thorough competitive analysis. Start by conducting region-specific online searches for healthcare staffing firms using search engines and online directories. You can obtain a count of the total number of temporary staffing institutions within an area through the BLS’ QCEW or SIA’s Geographic Opportunity Atlas. If possible, determine which ones operate a healthcare staffing business.

Conducting this kind of area assessment will help guide your entry strategy. Exploit every resource available to you. With the wealth of information available today, healthcare staffing firms have myriad resources at their disposal.

Ziv Tepman is a research associate at Staffing Industry Analysts. He can be reached at