Recession or Not, Coder Shortages Persist
This time last year the Journal surveyed members on their top coding challenges. High on the list were staffing shortages, with respondents citing trouble finding qualified coders. This year the Journal again informally polled a group of members, this time focusing on the state of coder staffing.
The long-standing coding shortages weren’t magically solved in the past year. Only 60 percent of respondents to this year’s poll reported that their departments are completely staffed for all approved positions. About a quarter (23 percent) have coding positions that have been open for more than 3 months. The balance reported positions that have been open 3 months or less.
A lack of qualified candidates appears to remain the root cause. The vast majority of respondents (46 percent) said their departments are short on coders due to a lack of qualified candidates in the market. Many respondents commented that candidates lack on-the-job experience.
A minimal number of respondents said their staffing shortages are the result of hiring freezes or layoffs. Layoffs were the cause of coder shortages in only 1 department.
Thirty-eight percent said they were under no restrictions on hiring for approved positions. Nearly half (48 percent) reported that their departments are able to recruit for open positions, though no others. The final 14 percent reported a complete freeze on hiring.
The lack of experienced candidates in the market is requiring organizations to be flexible, creative, and committed when filling positions. Respondents commented that their departments commit to training hires that lack experience, grow coders from within, and work with community colleges to boost the local pool of candidates.
The survey was conducted online June 29–July 12, with 95 responses.