“My wife and I both work in healthcare in Vancouver. We are currently experiencing a flood of applications from our local talent, the USA, and around the world. I know it doesn’t fit with the “message” on this blog, but this is the true reality.”

“My wife and I both work in healthcare, both here in Vancouver, PHSA and VCH. We are currently experiencing a flood of applications from our local talent, the USA (especially), and around the world. It is a very competitive hiring environment. Local nursing schools are producing far too many graduates and few have employment offers upon graduation. My wife tells me that many of our medical school graduates are also having trouble. But please, don’t take my word for it, simply look at the career websites at each of our health regions and you will see very few postings. And though we only have 4 degrees between us, we know of what we speak. My wife was recently part of a team recruiting for a new pediatrician at the Children’s, MANY applicants, hired a physician from Johns Hopkins. Hey, I know it doesn’t fit with the “message” on this blog, but this is the true reality.”
allen at VREAA 27 Mar 2012 9:27am, responding to a post from ‘Vancouver in Rearview’ claiming that “Recruitment to Vancouver for skilled health professionals is nearly impossible.” [VREAA 27 Mar 2012].

Interesting, as we have two different health care ‘insiders’ describing very different recruitment conditions. Perhaps they are looking at different subgroups within the field?

With regard to allen’s comment on “message”: At VREAA we welcome any form of personal anecdote pertaining to Vancouver RE, regardless of what ‘message’ it may seem to project.
Even though we are personally very bearish regarding Vancouver RE, we hold our opinion because of the available data, including accumulated anecdotes.
So, we invite you to submit any personal stories that shed light on what is happening in the market, regardless of your opinion regarding future market direction. In fact, we come across so few ‘bullish’ stories, we’d particularly like to hear any of those.
– vreaa

14 responses to ““My wife and I both work in healthcare in Vancouver. We are currently experiencing a flood of applications from our local talent, the USA, and around the world. I know it doesn’t fit with the “message” on this blog, but this is the true reality.”

  1. As has always been the case, there are many applicants for Vancouver jobs because there are too few jobs.

  2. Thanks VREAA. I think I should clarify a bit. Canada in general is a very attractive option for physicians, and healthcare professionals in general. Imagine working in a very well-paid field (close to the highest in the world), wher you have the freedom of self-employment with zero risk; our “customers” always pay. And noone looking over your shoulder. This is attracting professionals from all over the world, especially american physicians; they can earn more (yes, more) and do not have to del with insurance companies. However, lets talk RE. We are fairly new here, as are many of our friends/coworkers, and WE ALL RENT. And are happy to do so. We would never purchase in this market. And we have patience. In our circle of close friends we are the only Canadians, 4 physicians from the US and one from Australia. All rent. All happy. All like Vancouver very much. All agree the fundamentals are screwed up here. All love reading this blog.

  3. It looks like there are about 150 jobs posted on the PHSA ‘external jobs’ website. That doesn’t feel like ‘very few postings’ but the PHSA is pretty large so I guess comparatively it could be.

    I seem to remember someone commenting a few weeks back that the PHSA announced some kind of hiring freeze. Is that true? I’d be interested in hearing an insiders perspective…

    • I posted those comments…but you will need to hear from others to add some credibility so I will not repeat. And yes, PHSA is huge, so 150 jobs is nothing (the hiring feeze did have some exceptions, btw). Just as a comparison, the Cleveland Clinic, in the USA has hired 6000 nurses over the past year.

      • Thanks Allen.

        6000 nurses! Jeez…that’s huge. Do they have retention problems or something?

      • Hi Bally, yes 6000! Now, to be fair, the Cleveland Clinic is a very large organization, BUT, the real reason they have gone on such a hiring spree (and that includes recruiting in Canada) is the expected implementation of the so-called “Obamacare” plan. This is expected to add millions of Americans to the ranks of the insured with an expected dramatic increase in the number of people seeking service.

      • NB The Cleveland Clinic is not just in Cleveland — just so we all have an idea of how large it is.


  4. I am hearing that higher paid specialists in certain areas are finding it difficult to find work in BC. One I talked to was in a speciality within cardiology and stated that fellowships were hard to come by. He was looking in the States but would not have the ability to choose his location absolutely.

    In contrast an acquaintance in obstetrics thought fellowships were relatively easy to come by, at least he thought the intake from universities was well matched with the upcoming hiring requirements.

    I do think vreaa is right that it varies across various colleges, the anaesthetists were just in the news asking for more money and the government basically said no. From what I’ve heard anaesthetists in the US aren’t as well paid and there’s a big push to start using more higher-trained nursing staff to do the work once reserved for physicians. A family member who teaches chemistry at a college in the US said one of his courses was devoted almost entirely to those retraining to be nurse-anaesthetists, claiming they can get low 6 figures with this speciality. Given the strains on the US health care system there is understandably pressure to figure out how to leverage highly-paid physicians across more procedures. That would put downwards pressure on salaries, or at least limit entry into the higher paid positions.

    An interesting set of data to track is looking at BC doctor salaries going back 10 years and see how they have compared to the inflation rate. I believe the data are available on the government website. These days it may well be the argument that the US keeping health care salaries inflated is a bit out of date.

    And how does this relate to housing? Not sure but I do see lots of interns in hospitals, and it seems there are fellowships consistently filled by seemingly capable applicants.

  5. A special treat for DearReaders who also happen to be Medicos… Tired of drip-dispensing symptomatic relief to an ailing patient (NHS)… Some UK physicians and surgeons have opted instead for ‘radical surgery’ (i.e amputāre politicus)…

    [UK Independent] – Doctors bid to unseat 50 MPs in revenge over NHS bill:
    GPs to stand against top Lib Dems and Tories in 2015 general election as more than 240 medics launch national campaign…

    “An unprecedented coalition of nearly 250 doctors launches a campaign today to unseat Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs at the next election in revenge for their backing of the controversial Health and Social Care Bill. On the eve of the embattled legislation’s final hurdle in Parliament, scores of GPs, consultants and other NHS doctors have signed a letter to The Independent on Sunday condemning the Bill as an “embarrassment to democracy” and pledging to stand as candidates against MPs who backed it.”…


    PS – trusted psephologists predict the Medicos are ‘on to a winner’…

  6. I was surprised when we managed to get two people from our Ontario office (Toronto-ish) to transfer over to Vancouver. Presumably at the same pay.
    Employee A rented in Ontario, and is now renting here – he felt rents were comparable, so no change in the biggest component to his cost of living. Also it’s nicer here (not the BPOE, but nicer).
    Employee B – who had a negative outlook on the housing market about a year ago, bought a condo. Basically traded down from his house in one of the Toronto Suburbs. Closer to family here.

  7. I don’t buy this at all

  8. Vancouver In The Rearview

    150 vacancies is nothing in an organization the size of PHSA. The reality is that our colleges are turning out more nurses than jobs, so nurses are not nearly as hard to come by. Look to more specialized technical fields and getting people to relocate is nearly impossible, as I stated. As someone who hires people into these roles, I can tell you that they are saying ‘no’ and choosing other locations. You can’t always hire a rookie – often, you need experienced people, but always, you need a mix. Turning out new grads doesn’t address needs if they don’t have the skills to practice to full scope.

    Also, there is no comparison between recruiting a pediatric subspecialist making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and a skilled technologist at 85K per year. They’re in totally different strata from a real estate price sensitivity perspective, so using that example to imply all is well is a canard.

    I’d also like to point out that having lots of applicants doesn’t translate to successful recruitment to a position. I have lots of applicants for positions from all over the world, but once they find out about a) wages, b) cost of living, and c) opportunities for spousal employment, interest dries up. All the applicants in the world are irrelevant if you can’t get people to move to the place.

    I also like how Allen says he knows of what he speaks, implying that I do not, and what I say is nonsense. Nice ad hominem dig there. I do know of what I speak, because I live it every day. It’s better than it was, but getting new, non-local blood who are not already inured to the insane cost of living here is, as I stated, nearly impossible

    • Well, please let me start by apologizing if I came across as rude. Using the word nonsense and implying your posting is BS was not polite. However, in an effort to to uncover the truth, I did a few simple things that took me less than 15 minutes. I took a look at the career sections for our local health authorities, specific to the technical experts you say are so difficult to recruit. Very few positions and most are casual or part-time. Then I talked to our chief technologists (I work in Cardiology) in ultrasound, radiology, and nucleur medicine. They report no recruiting difficulties. In fact they tell me BCIT has difficulty placing graduates now. So we are living very different experiences. And yes, recruiting a physician may be less difficult, but we do not work in isolation. If I or my wife have trouble ordering procedures, or cannot admit patients because of a lack of staff on the wards, we would know about it. This does not happen. Further, in our regular admin. meetings the topic of recruitment is never an issue. Perhaps you have specific examples?

      • Anon. UBC Professor

        Thank you both for your perspectives. I imagine there is truth to both of your stories.

        In my department at UBC we typically hire perhaps 1 person per year. We typically have around 500 applicants for that slot. Of these maybe around 100 have any hope, and maybe around 20 are serious contenders. So, as in allen’s anecdote, there is no shortage of applicants for the jobs!

        However, we have also had several mid-career departures from our department over the last few years. The cost of housing was a significant factor in those cases. This is consistent with Rearview’s claim that “more young families (the ones you want to recruit for the long haul) do the math and say ‘better value elsewhere’.”

        Perhaps one explanation is that the math is different for early career professionals who perhaps have no kids, versus mid-career folk who have families and need more space, and versus late-career folk who perhaps have lavish accomodations elsewhere which they simply could not afford in Vancouver.

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