A report published in the California Healthline towards the end of July showed that doctors and dental offices are still affected by COVID-19 job losses several months into the pandemic. While the industry recovered some jobs lately, employment in medical outpatient care in June remained 7 percent below pre-COVID levels.
Usually, doctors and dental offices rely on patient volume for revenue. And the less the patient traffic, the less likely they will meet their payroll obligations. Unfortunately, patients have not been eager to visit dental practices even after the resumption of elective procedures.
Less patient traffic; a contributing factor to job losses in dental offices
Like we have mentioned above, the patient volume in dental offices is still wanting, despite reopening. According to a survey carried out by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, dental offices that had resumed operations in June, reported lower patient traffic than usual. And that hasn’t changed much, since then.
To some extent, this shows that it isn’t just the stay-at-home guidelines that had caused patients to call off appointments. Some might have lost the dental insurance cover they used to get at their workplaces. Others fear contracting COVID-19, and they feel safer postponing preventive care for now. Or perhaps they doubt the safety protocols being followed in dental premises altogether. Keep in mind also that only a minimal number of patients are allowed in dental offices at any given time.
In short, even with the additional protective equipment and technology dental offices have invested in, in-person visits haven’t been too encouraging. Being concerned with their financial future, dentists have no other choice but to shelve the idea of recalling the laid off or furloughed employees.
When is the job market expected to recover?
The case for a drawn-out and challenging recovery from the COVID-triggered recession is getting stronger. Data released by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on July 23rd showed that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits was still high. This means that things are yet to return to normal.
For some time now, workers in the healthcare and dental industry have been optimistic that their job market will recover faster than other sectors since health and dental services are considered critical.
However, the recent spike in Coronavirus cases in some states raises the specter of future lockdowns, and with them, additional employees layoffs. For instance, a few weeks ago, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a second shutdown for bars, dine, restaurants, movie theaters, barbershops, and gyms operating in California. Doctors and dental offices, though, are still operating as usual.
And California is not alone in this. Some southern states like Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi have experienced rising COVID-19 cases over the last month. This has left some economists warning that much of the joblessness created by these spikes might eventually turn out to be permanent.
This observation would also appear to support what Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, stressed in his June 30th testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
“The path forward for the economy remains extraordinarily uncertain and will depend largely on our success in containing the virus,” Powell told the legislators. “A full recovery is unlikely to occur until people are confident it’s safe to engage in a broad range of activities.”
What should employers and job seekers do about this?
It has been more than ten years since the last recession, and lots of young dental professionals and nearly half of the current dental businesses have never experienced a recession. What, exactly, should they anticipate in the coming months?
Dental professionals looking for jobs should prepare for tough times in the coming six or twelve months. There will likely be fewer job vacancies in the dental industry, judging from the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in some states.
Judging from the present situation and with recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in some states, there will likely be fewer job vacancies in the dental industry.
So, what can dental professionals facing unemployment do, to ease their job search during and after the COVID-19 crisis:
Update your resume and online profiles
This is the best time to update your resume and online profiles to showcase your potential, skills set, and recent work experience. And here, we would emphasize more on online resumes and profiles, because that is now the way to go. The majority of job seekers and employers have embraced technology; why should you be left behind?
For example, sign up and build your online profile with dental industry-dedicated staffing platforms like Cloud Dentistry and increase your visibility among employers. See, a platform like Cloud Dentistry is more than just an online resume and even more convenient than typical dental temp agencies. It allows dental professionals to market their services and abilities directly to dental offices, using a system that encourages collaboration and open communication.
Embrace gig work
One prediction for the post-COVID job market is that, instead of going for full-time employees, many businesses, dental practices included, will continue to rely on independent contractors, freelancers, gig workers, consultants, on-demand workers, and more — who accept roles on a temporary basis. So, are you ready for the gig-economy? Are you prepared to settle into this new reality?
Dental offices will require more flexibility in their workforce. Thus, as a job seeker, you should, from now on, have a positive mindset towards temporary jobs.
However, note that to be successful as a dental temp, where you jump from one project or dental office to another, you need to build a strong brand since this kind of work arrangement relies on testimonials and reviews from your past employers.
Don’t limit your job search to your hometown
As a job seeker, you should cast as wide a geographical net as possible since your ideal role might be lacking in your local city or state. Utilize this time to think creatively about your profession and where the best dental opportunities are.
What about the dental offices looking to hire?
Looking for dental employees now is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. Why is that so? It is not a secret that thousands of dental professionals are jobless because of COVID-19. That means the job market is flooded with candidates.
As a dental office looking to hire, this is both bad and good news. Well, the good news is that more candidates mean that they will have a larger pool to select from. The unfortunate news is that they will have to review thousands of resumes to identify the ideal candidate.
However, this also can be avoided by taking advantage of Cloud Dentistry. Empowered by intelligent algorithms, Cloud Dentistry can easily match dental offices with job seekers, by taking their skills, qualifications, and past performance into account. Thus, dental practice owners can quickly and efficiently prune a shortlist of candidates, making it effortless than ever to unearth the right person for the job.
Final thoughts on COVID job losses
We can make three observations from this whole issue on OCVID-19 job losses. First, the dental industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and without a doubt, it will take some time to recover. Secondly, while there have been substantial job losses and reduced working hours, there have been a few glimmers of light, including an increase in demand for temporary working.
Lastly, the reality is, many dental offices are still operating. However, the ability to take in permanent employees has been restricted because many of them are operating on a tight budget. Remember, practices are experiencing less patient traffic, and the cost of implementing the COVID-19 safety protocols has also been on the higher side.
Therefore, if you lost your job due to COVID-19 and are now back on the job market, consider taking temporary-based roles. This can be a practical way to earn some income while the economy recovers.