Job seekers must change search habits to get in the health IT game

By Molly Merrill
10:31 AM

Job candidates with IT experience or interest are not broadening their searches to include jobs in the healthcare IT field, even though experts say it is ripe with opportunity, according to MedZilla.com.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that healthcare jobs increased by 34,000 in February – more than three times as many jobs created in January. And although layoffs were reported to be up in February, only 1,337 were in healthcare, according to outplacement consulting organization Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

"Healthcare remains a consistent growth industry in the U.S.," said John Burkhardt, managing director of  MedZilla.com, a website for professionals and employers in pharmaceuticals, pharmaceutical sales, biotechnology, science and medicine.

"It's not just doctors and nurses, though, that are benefiting. As the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – health care reform – comes closer to its final effective date in 2014, information technology roles will continue to grow in both scope and number," he said.

[See also: IT certifications increasingly important to hiring process.]

"People who never thought they'd be getting jobs in healthcare might someday be reporting to hospitals or medical technology firms," Burkhardt added.

February's candidate search numbers from MedZilla.com speak to Burkhardt's point – companies seeking qualified applicants increased their search activities by 2.5 percent in February. Companies who increased candidate searches in general were mostly located in California (up four percent) and New Jersey (3.1 percent); however, numbers dropped significantly in North Carolina and Texas – both down 3.3 percent. Job postings by employers and job searches by applicants remained fairly even, month-to-month, with only New Jersey showing a significant change – up 1.3 percent in postings and 1.2 percent in searches.

[See also: Clinical IT professionals hard to find.]

"We haven't seen corresponding changes – in New Jersey or anywhere else – with technology-minded applicants looking for jobs in healthcare information technology," said Del Johnston, MedZilla's manager of Client Relations. "Our numbers for the past few months haven't shifted much one way or the other. It's still very possible to scoop everyone else and try to get in on the ground floor with health care IT."

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