This article makes the case for taking a job in healthcare, and it does so from a purely economic standpoint. Forget the heroic stories of a fulfilling career, or the horror stories of doctors searching through entrails to find a bullet. Taken from a purely economic standpoint, getting into the healthcare profession “ensures” you will never be poor or hungry again. As a career, it is bulletproof.
Sometimes unions are good things, like when they stopped the exploitation of US workers in slaughterhouses and rendering sites where more people died during the course of a year than all the people who died in the Cold War.
Then, there are unions that are bankrupting cities with pension plans and are making it impossible for small businesses to thrive. Yet, there is one area where market forces have done more for workers than any union on the planet, and that is within the healthcare system.
Healthcare workers can only do a finite amount every day. This is a problem in an industry where a worker cannot be scaled up or scaled out. Take the example of the carpenter who cuts 50 beams per day with his saw, and is then given a buzz saw and can cut 300 beams per day (scaling-up), or who can send out his beams to be cut in an automated factory (scaled out).
In very few instances can nurses and doctors be scaled up. Their job can sometimes be made more efficient with the use of disposable equipment and faster machinery (such as the advances in X-ray technology that make it more efficient than ever). Yet, in terms of labor, a healthcare worker cannot be scaled up. Their work is a finite resource.
Do you know what private companies call a commodity that is a finite resource while in ever more demand? They call it a gold mine. The days of poorly paid nurses and underpaid health officials is long gone. Demand is going up, and the number of people ready and qualified to fill the roles is not rising in tandem.
Part of the problem is because of the bad press that the profession gets, but another part of the problem is that the healthcare industry is massive; it deals with everybody, and it is now under the burden of both an aging population and a growing population.
Also, healthcare jobs have an age range that goes from around 21yrs old to about 55yrs old for most professionals, with some people taking desk jobs or senior jobs between the ages of 50 and 65yrs old.
Compare this with the fact that everybody needs healthcare and combine it with the fact that getting educated and qualified to become a healthcare professional is now more expensive than ever, and you have market conditions that seriously favor the healthcare professional.
Some people are coming forwards saying that the 2020 pandemic proves that healthcare is not recession-proof, but they are demonstrating a misunderstanding of what a recession is. The world economy is stalled and therefore shrinking because of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean it is in recession.
A recession occurs when market forces compel a change, but the change that has occurred in this case (a pandemic) is both temporary and doesn’t have a lasting effect (in the same way that oil prices or the Twin Towers incident have lasting effects on the economy).
The fact is that healthcare is recession-proof because health has little to do with economics. Unless a country goes bankrupt in the same way that Greece did, then healthcare (private or state-sponsored) will be fine. If you take a job in healthcare, your job is recession-proof. You will still be getting job offers, still, be getting paid, still getting vacation money, and still getting overtime money no matter how good or bad the economy is.
As a healthcare professional, you are in constant demand, and it doesn’t even matter which side of the industry you veer towards. Even care for the elderly, for which you need the fewest qualifications, is crying out for workers. That is why you hear horror reports about poor quality care workers. It is because the care establishments are having to take anybody (even poor quality workers) because there is nobody around to do the job. As a healthcare worker, you are difficult to fire, and you will find it very easy to find work.
The comment made in the introduction about a healthcare career being bulletproof is another way of saying it is a career choice that cannot be subverted, disarmed or expired. It will not become redundant like a career in C++ programming or expire like a career in video recorder repair. Unlike a magazine seller, you will never be part of a dying or limited industry.
Take a qualification in gender studies or the history of TV, and you will have a hard time getting a job, but take a qualification in healthcare, any qualification in healthcare, and there will always be jobs waiting for you. In short, a career in healthcare is bulletproof.