LIVE COVERAGE: Wage and Vacancy
Today the exhibit hall at ASCP in Las Vegas is packed with companies debuting new products, attendees eager to visit booths and the special hubs holding events throughout the day.
This morning, Andrea T. Bennett, MT(ASCP), MPH, senior manager, Public Policy, ASCP Washington D.C. Office, and Edna Garcia, MPH, research associate, ASCP Washington D.C. Office, held an open session at the Laboratory Hub based on Wage and Vacancy surveys.
The presenters noted there are many outside influences that are affecting salaries and vacancies in the clinical laboratory at this time, including:
- the recession,
- the aging population,
- innovations in science and technology, and
- the laboratory workforce.
Essentially, an explosion in new tests and technologies, (e.g., the HPV vaccine), are creating a change in job requirements for laboratory professionals, who are now facing the burden of learning molecular diagnostics and genomic sequencing.
At the same time, many professionals are reaching retirement age, which, as one attendee pointed out, creates an even greater deficiency in the combined knowledge in some staffs, as retirees who are experts in their field with years and years of experience are replaced with newly minted techs who lack hands on experience.
Additionally, with budget cuts plaguing many facilities, some of these long-held positions are simply being eliminated as staff leave, not due to a change in workload, but as a cost-savings measure deemed easy by administration.
This places a huge importance on the hiring process, as recruiting the right people to your lab is essential to maintain the high levels of knowledge, experience and dedication to the profession necessary to provide the highest standards of patient care.
One attendee noted this challenge means lab professionals sometimes need to step outside of the box when it comes to interacting with the Human Resources department. He invites his HR representatives down to the lab every few months for pizza and a tour, spending 15 minutes in each department, learning about the different positions, what they do and what is required.
This helps the HR department know what to look for in excellent candidates, and to "talk the talk" when it comes time to interact with candidates and assure them they know and care about the laboratory in the hiring process.