The Locum Tenens Industry: Dips, Troughs, Medical Staffing and More

While the locum tenens industry is no doubt a major one, with several medical staffing agencies listed in BusinessWeek’s investing resource guide (1), exact figures about the locum tenens industry are hard to come by. A lack of clear industry definition, no central, accountable reporting agency and a dynamic healthcare industry make exact figures hard to pin down, but one thing is certain: the locum tenens medical staffing industry is worth billions of dollars, and its value, most likely, is only going to increase.

One of the main reasons why the locum tenens industry is so hard to track is due to the many professions that fall under the term locum tenens. Because the term means temporary placeholder, or substitute, many professions can have locum tenens professionals: teachers, lawyers, clergy, etc.

Even in the more clearly defined locum tenens medical staffing and medical recruiting industry, there are many medical professionals that work temporarily or as fill-ins: there are locum tenens anesthetists, cardiologists, dermatologists, surgeons, neurologists, etc. As of 2005, the industry of temporary medical professionals working at medical facilities in the United States was estimated to value $14 billion annually, a number that was supposed to grow at an annual rate of 15 to 25 percent (2).

However, these figures are contradicted by estimates from 2009 showing the healthcare recruiting industry valued at $8.8 billion annually, down from $11.4 in 2008 (3). The decline in healthcare recruiting was matched by declines in other staffing industries (such as clerical staffing) with all these declines largely due to the most recent recession.

With the recession now ended and hiring picking back up, the value of the locum tenens medical staffing and recruiting industry should be rebounding as well. And this rebound should be fairly robust as a secondary cause of the most recent industry downturn was a loss in the number of patients seen by medical facilities as more and more people lost their health insurance (3); with the recent federal healthcare overhaul taking effect, millions of people who would have been otherwise uninsured will now have insurance. This means that the healthcare industry in general should continue to grow, helped along by an aging U.S. population. One of the best ways to do this is through marketing. Medical practice marketing is a treatment program for your ailing practice.

This increase in the amount of business in the healthcare industry should mean an increase in the locum tenens medical staffing industry as well. Improvements in hospital revenue and an increasingly stable business climate following the recession should only accelerate this trend, meaning possibly a return to the healthy growth days of 2005 in the medical recruiting industry.

Jesse402 Posts

Jesse Waters is head content writer and article at God Men. He found out about his love for writing when he was struggling with cancer. His works are very sensitive and he writes with his heart.


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