Hospital Admin or I-Banker? Hmmm...

I read the following account in FierceMarkets' FierceFinance e-newsletter with some interest...

"According to a recent government report, investment banking pay is hitting absurd levels. The weekly pay in the profession is $8,367, compared with $841 for all private sector jobs. Are investment bankers worth 10 times more than everyone else? Let the debate begin."

Here is a NYTimes article detailing extreme disparities in pay - we pay those who work with our money more than we do those who work to teach our children, those who work to improve our health.

But we also must be seeing the law of supply and demand in action...many more MBAs want to work in the NYC market atmosphere than toil as a hospital executive. Money talks, apparently.

But what else talks to promising candidates looking for a career?

Money of course, but I-banking and other financial/consultancy positions deliver a gift wrapped package that may turn out to have a grenade inside. Take a look at the comments section following the NYT article for a good old-fashioned, gloves off back-and-forth debate.

Despite the big-bang paychecks, the sector can be fraught with competitive pressures where honing your skills is an hourly affair, necessary for survival. All that living on the edge gets tedious and carries a high risk of burnout.

However, I have to admit that were I an MBA evaluating my options, weighing the costs and benefits of different industries, I'd cast a favorable eye on several perks the banking/financial industry offers:
  • Strong cultural norms ('good' or 'bad');
  • Visible company identities that emphasize cohesiveness of total results in addition to personal competitiveness - and these identities are shaped by a strong management/exec team;
  • "Very handsome bonuses" that are performance/productivity based;
  • The opportunity to access continuing education/development in the form of scholarships, tuition assistance, and mentorship programs (for instance, if I could find a firm willing to pay for graduate school, or one that offered a scholarship competition to cover the costs of higher higher ed, I'd stay with them through my doctoral program and most likely 5 years beyond); and
  • The opportunity for advancement, furthering leadership skills, and possible inclusion in succession planning if I really demonstrate the right stuff.

However, take a good look at the list above - all of these are areas hospital and healthcare organizations can develop to attract promising candidates.

H/HC organizations are suffering due to a lack of aggressive searches for new executive talent. We need new blood, and we're not doing enough to revamp the supply.

Of course, it's a vast oversimplification to say many financial, consultancy, and research firms aggressively recruit/rewards young talent while many hospitals don't, but - well - think about it.

Do you send a representative to all regional college career fairs? What about high schools? Is there information about your scholarship programs in high schools statewide?

Do you have forums for young staffers to develop leadership AND managerial skills?

Are you providing them with opportunities to volunteer for BOD committees, become involved in the operational heirarchy as talents/needs permit? Could you personally name 2-3 promising replacements at multiple experience levels within your organization?

Promising candidates with much to offer our industry ARE out there, but they won't stumble across your doorstep by accident.

Similar to performing a comprehensive service line evaluation, you have to figure out what to offer that will bring them knocking, portfolios in hand and suits neatly pressed.

1 comment:

CarolynKent said...

I will graduate in June 2008 with an MBA from one of the top 50 MBA programs in the country. Of all the executive luncheons and networking opportunities with which we have been presented, not one of those have featured any hospital executives or recruiters from local hospitals - and I live in a market with 3 different hospital systems - one of which is affiliated with the university!

I would welcome the opportunity to learn more about carving out a career in hospital management - and I know many of my classmates would as well - it just seems to be so difficult to learn anything about this area of management - like there is this invisible wall we MBAs are expected to scale rather than having recruiters from hospitals come to us.

Great post!