Millennials and the HTM Profession: Part I

Over the past month, we’ve lightly touched on the growing concern around the HTM industry and the diminishing candidate pool. The information surrounding this concern has been studied, researched and reported on in so many ways. The information is great, but mostly perspectives from every generation other than Millennials. During this two part series, this fellow millennial is going to weigh in on some of the information and offer solutions to the industry’s growing pain point.

The largest percentage of HTM professionals in the field are members of the Baby Boomer Generation. The negative impact of this? RETIREMENT. Many of these professionals are already participating in the retirement exodus or are just a few short years away from daily visits to the golf course or fishing on a lake.

The real concern is not those leaving but the lack of those joining the field. The candidate pool for HTM professionals is becoming smaller and smaller as the younger generations are entering the workforce. We can attribute this to a few factors.

#1. HTM is “Behind-the-Scenes”

Think of it as a play: if doctors and nurses are the actors on stage, HTM professionals work behind the scenes handling lighting, scenery, etc. Of course, we are talking about medical equipment, not props, but the idea is the same. Other than hospital administration and nursing staff, there are very few people who understand who these BMETs are and what they do. If questioned, I doubt many would know how their medical equipment is serviced or how the hospital maintains it all. All they want to know is if it can be used, safely, on patients. Additionally, many BMETs work on equipment at on offsite shop or within a “closed” room, so patients aren’t exposed to the workings of a BMET. Working so far “behind the scenes” means that there is not enough exposure to the public about the profession.

#2. BMETs are a Specialty within a Specialty

 Healthcare Technology Management is a subset of the overall healthcare industry and covers a wide range of professions. BMETs are a specialty within this subset. Trained and experienced to repair, service, and maintain medical equipment of all calibers, this specialty requires specific schooling and certifications to enter the field. Minimally, a BMET must obtain an Associate degree in a related field and consider certification as a CBET. The degree programs are most often found in tech training schools, rather than universities. Without prior knowledge of the industry, or a military background, many students are unaware of the program’s existence, the benefits and career paths of it, or how to enter it.

#3. Generational Disconnects

The generation disconnect between Millennials and the Baby Boomers is not brand-new information. The challenge is that there are not enough Boomers using technological advances to communicate with the younger generation. Meaning the networking and education around the industry is limited to in-person networking opportunities. Additionally, without the explanation of how important this industry is, Millennials are less likely to consider this industry for a career path. A recent study conducted by PayScale states that the most influential factor for the Millennial generation when considering a career path or decision is the value of their work and the culture of the company, rather than the potential income. An entirely different perspective for those entering the workforce than those of the Boomer generation. The increase in social media, technology use, and overall purpose drivers for Millennials further enlarges the gap from the Boomers. Communicating this industry and the roles available to the Millennials is a challenge for the Boomers, especially when the two are not speaking the same language.

What can be done to solve this problem?

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