Hiring reaches an all-time high among hospitals and health systems, workforce diversity
shows growth, but challenges remain
June 12, 2023, Saint Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) today released
its annual Workforce Report, which tracks workforce trends for Minnesota’s hospitals and health
systems. While the 2023 report shows some measurable improvements, such as an all-time
high for hiring direct patient care staff (since report year 2017,) increasing diversity of staff, and
declining turnover, it also illustrates continuing challenges in Minnesota’s health care
“The daily hard work and focus of health care leaders on continuous recruitment, retention, and
enhancing diversity is showing results with improvements noted in key metrics since last year’s
report,” said Dr. Rahul Koranne, president and CEO of MHA. “In order to ensure access to
health care for current patients and for generations to come, this work needs sustained support
from the state.”
Key findings from the 2023 report include:
Hiring and Exits:
- Hiring reached an all-time high with the addition of 13,963 health care workers, including
the hiring of 5,520 RNs, 560 Physicians, and 7,883 Other Clinical Staff, in report year
2023 – a year-over-year increase in all three categories.
- In addition, since report year 2022, hiring for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)
increased by 38% (2,014 hires), hiring for RNs increased 23% (5,520), and hiring is up
32% for Medical Assistants (719 hires).
- Despite the increase in hiring for these jobs, there’s still a significant need for health care
workforce. Several factors, including pay increases, enhanced recruitment and retention
tactics, and a waning pandemic, have led to a 10% decrease in vacancy rates since the
report year 2022, however, vacancy rates in report year 2023 remain high (17%):
- Medical Assistants 57% with 554 open FTEs
- Other Clinical Staff 18% with 3,114 open FTEs
o RN 17% with 2,532 open FTEs
- CNAs 14% with 304 open FTEs
- Physicians 13% with 312 open FTEs
- Exits among health care workers decreased from a high of 15,624 employees leaving in
2021 to 12,840 departing in 2022. (This data only captures employees who left a
position; it is not a measurement of a career exit.)
- Most of these exits occurred among full-time employees, with 6,028 full-time
workers departing in 2022.
- Fewer RNs left – 4,913 in 2022 compared to 5,451 in 2021.
- 644 Physicians left in 2022 compared to a high of 1,302 in 2021.
- 7,283 Other Clinical Staff left in 2022 down from 8,871 in 2021.
- Despite a high vacancy rate, Minnesota hospitals and health systems were able to add
1,123 more employees than exited. This is the first year since 2019 when hiring
exceeded exit numbers.
- A continuing focus on ensuring health care staff mirror the communities they serve
resulted in an increase of 6.5% in overall diversity among Minnesota health care
employees from report year 2022 to report year 2023.
- Minnesota’s hospitals and health systems have increased the number of Black,
Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) representation in the health care
workforce by 84% since report year 2017.
- In addition to a 9% increase in the diversity of metro-area health care workers to
20% in report year 2023, non-metro (outside the 13-county metro area) diversity
grew 14% in report year 2023, and 124% since report year 2019.
- Job categories with the most diversity (employees who identify as BIPOC) are CNAs
(41%), followed by Rehabilitation Registered Nurses (36%) and Nursing Station
More employees opting for part-time employment
- Overall, 55% of Minnesota health care workers work full-time (32 or more hours per
week), while 32% of health care workers are opting for a part-time schedule (between 8
and 32 hours per week), and 13% are choosing a casual schedule (less than 8 hours per
- More than half (57%) of RNs do not work full-time, with a 7% increase in the
number of RNs choosing a casual schedule in report year 2023 from report year
- In addition, in report year 2023, there was a 10% increase in the number of
Physicians opting for a casual schedule. 72% of Physicians work a full-time
- There was a slight decrease (2%) in the number of Other Clinical Staff opting for
a part-time schedule, while there was a 7.5% increase in the number of Other
Clinical staff working a casual schedule in 2023 versus 2022.
For access to the complete report, visit: MHA 2023 Workforce Report.
Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reports more than
45,000 job vacancies in the health care sector. MHA’s Workforce Report captures almost 6,000
open positions just in hospitals and health systems – a 17% vacancy rate.
Building the health care workforce remains a primary area of focus for MHA as we continue to
assist members in addressing this critical challenge through service, advocacy, and data-led
MHA advocates for:
Government reimbursements that support the struggling financials of hospitals and
health systems, recognize the importance of retaining the current workforce, and invest
in building it for the future. Medicare reimburses hospitals at 20% below cost on average
and Medicaid at 27% below cost, creating a financial model that is not sustainable.
Loan forgiveness and scholarships for students in all areas of health care, including
allied health professionals.
Significant investment to build the health care workforce pipeline, including programs for
career laddering, inspiring and exposing students to health care careers at an earlier
Accelerated entry into the professional workforce by simplifying the administrative
processes at the health care licensing boards, especially the board of nursing.
Each year, MHA member hospitals and health systems are asked to submit demographic data
for 40 direct patient care jobs. This year’s Workforce Report includes data from 82,971 health
care workers employed at 105 hospitals, health systems, clinics, and other facility settings and
is based on 81% of MHA members. The report, developed by MHA, shows trends and
benchmarks in Minnesota’s health care landscape and serves as a critical tool for workforce
analysis and making decisions on how best to support health care staff.