Health care hiring at a cut-rate cost

September 5, 2014

Health care jobs in Minnesota are abundantly available, but job seekers are going to have to lower expectations to get them. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Minnesota health care workers can expect to find plenty of jobs at wages of $20,000 and under per year.

Not doctor or nursing wages
The report indicated that the  plethora of jobs is not in the highly paid sectors of health care – doctors and nurses – but in the home health or nursing home aide fields. While the nation's economy has seen a very sluggish rebound since 2008's recession, the job mix has seen a big change. Figures in the report said that companies who laid-off workers during the recession are paying about $14,000 more per year to workers than those industries that have gained jobs since the end of the recession.

Wage offerings drop considerably
In the five-year time frame between 2008 and 2013, the amount of manufacturing jobs lost in the state was about 28,000. For most of those jobs the average pay was about $1,100 dollars per week. The jobs created since then, said the article, average about $500 weekly, and most of those jobs are in the health care sector. Workers said they can't support their families. Sumer Spika has three children and another on the way. Her husband has MS, and she works full time.

"No, I don't make enough money," exclaimed Spika who works for $12 hourly. "That is definitely the higher end," she added. "I don't know anybody who does home care who doesn't rely on the county or the government for some kind of help."

Demographics set the barometer
An International Insurance News online blog added to the Star-Tribune report by speaking with Pete Ferderer, a Macalester College economist, who addressed the industry trend as being one of demographics.

"You've got this huge group of people moving into these years where they need more care," said Ferderer. "The demographics driving nursing care and social assistance, that's going to be with us for a while."

According to the Star Tribune, Minnesota lays claim to the largest percentages of home health and personal care aides in the nation. So while the jobs are prevalent – 37,000 new health care jobs across the state – about half of them, said the Insurance News blog, don't pay a living wage for families.

Because the jobs require little training, said the online article, the pay starts at $9-10 hourly. Many of the jobs are federally funded, and that, claimed economists, is a huge part of wage discrepancy throughout the industry.