The healthcare industry lost 1.4 million jobs in April, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Dental offices, however, took the biggest wallop of jobs lost. Employment in the dental industry declined from 959, 300 to 456, 000, according to this report. That’s a loss of about 503, 300 jobs — an unusual drop of 52%.
This is contrary to what many would have expected. Nobody would have ever imagined that healthcare workers or dental professionals could be laid off or furloughed during a global health pandemic. The situation is gradually changing, though; thanks to the resumption of preventive dental care services.
In previous times, dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists were rest assured that they will secure a job in nearly any scenario. But the unprecedented economic strains brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak are placing this notion of security on rocky ground, now forcing the question: what’s next?
With little work coming into dental practices, furlough and layoffs were inevitable
Until recently, the term “furlough” was not common in our lexicon. How some things change! At the moment, furlough is viewed differently than it was five months ago. It seems more likeable than the word “layoff.” However, the baggage linked to the actual meaning carries intense emotions and now visceral weight.
It should, though, be remembered that dental offices lost millions in revenue when they called off non-emergent visits and elective surgeries in an effort to curb the spread of the virus. Equally, patients began scheduling fewer appointments and steered clear of dental offices even for emergency procedures, creating another hit for dental practice owners who were already hurting.
Fewer patients mean less revenue. And though most dental practices resumed preventive care, experts say the dental industry is unlikely to pull through anytime soon, as large swaths of the population are currently struggling financially and might continue to put off dental care.
As per the above scenarios, it is easy to guess that dental offices currently do not need their entire staff to be on board. Many have laid off or furloughed workers. Others have forced their employees to take pay cuts. So, despite the job gains story being floated in the media, don’t be cheated. The dental industry has fewer workers than it did before the COVID-19 crisis — signaling to experts that the recovery is far from over.
You have been furloughed, so now what? Tips for staying positive and productive
If you have found yourself in such a situation, it is easy to enter into a state of hopelessness, particularly if you are that person who likes working and everything that is associated with it. Here are a few tips to stay optimistic when furloughed:
First and foremost, care for your health
This may be the ideal time to address those personal health issues and job-related stress that you have been having all along. Make sure you rest well, exercise, and eat right. Keeping a positive attitude and staying optimistic can be very challenging during a furlough. But there is no need to be too hard on yourself. Keep going and take steps each new day to improve your situation.
Identify future opportunities
The reality is, when you are furloughed, things may not return to normal, and if they do, it might take time. This uncertainty can give birth to a whole host of nervousness and tension. What will the future hold? You no longer have an income, what will happen? Take some time to analyze these questions candidly.
If you are ultimately laid off, you want to have ideas in place as to how you will salvage the situation. Maybe you can go back to school and acquire some additional certification. Perhaps you want to find a part-time job or side hustle to pay your basic expenses.
Make these extraordinary decisions, identify future opportunities, and never be afraid to try a path that is different from what you had been used to.
Start applying for other dental jobs
Generally, you have every right to search for employment elsewhere while you are on furlough. This is particularly advisable if you strongly feel your employer will not reinstate your job.
To position yourself for a successful job hunt in the present market, start by updating your online profile or resume. You have time on your hands since you are not going to work, why not take advantage of it?
That said; if you land a new job in the process that will mean leaving your older position. Remember to follow the right procedure when terminating your contract. You don’t want to burn bridges.
How to navigate job searching during a period of layoffs and furlough
Finding dental offices that are still actively recruiting is quite tricky, but it isn’t impracticable. And though less hiring translates to a more competitive search, you can still leverage this moment to stick out within your job hunt by being strategic, nimble, and agile. Take your time and read why dental hygienists and assistants need to be agile-employment ready.
This is not the time for using dental temp agencies, consider digital hiring platforms
Well, here is the catch. With the rapidly changing labor market and uncertainties caused by the pandemic, dental practice owners are accelerating the use of digital hiring platforms to source talents on-demand. One such platform is Cloud Dentistry — a job search service that is uniquely designed for dental professionals only.
By focusing only on dental professionals, Cloud Dentistry builds a tailored and flawless experience that connects the right talents to the right dental jobs with the scale, speed, and efficiency practices need.
Easily search and apply to openings that meet your current requirements. Cloud Dentistry’s job database is so comprehensive that you are practically guaranteed to get a position advertised in your city. Houston, Dallas, Denver, Chicago to name a few.
Be flexible, and consider temporary dental opportunities
Besides the full-time employment opportunities, some dental offices are hiring to fill contract-based positions. Others are hiring temporary replacements for their sick staff. So, consider freelance jobs or gig work to tide you over. Nowadays, you can temp for as many dental offices as you can.
If an opportunity for working on the evenings or weekends shows up, grab it. If you get a chance to work during the normal business hours, then go for it as well. The bottom line is, be agile and flexible enough, to pivot as required. And again, such flexibility and freedom is also guaranteed by Cloud Dentistry.
What next for the dental practice and professionals?
No one can foresee the future. However, there are a lot of assumptions about what the future holds for dentistry once the virus is gone.
- Dental practices will be busy — for a while, dental offices will be busy with work as they strive to clear a backlog that had accumulated during the lockdown period.
- Longer appointments — Dental procedure times are expected to be twice as long; thus, fewer patients will be attended to per day. This may result in a loss of revenue as well as poor customer experience.
- Business costs — Unless the COVID-19 testing kits and personal protective equipment are provided to the dental offices for free, these will add a sizable overhead for the offices. So, does that mean that patients’ fees will be increased to enable dental offices to remain financially viable? Or will employees be furloughed or forced to take pay cuts to save resources for COVID-19 patients?
One thing is for sure: the moment the crisis is over; there will be increased job opportunities for dental professionals. Actually, as early as May when dentists resumed preventive care, dental practices were responsible for 10% of jobs regained. So, if you are one of those furloughed, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and you might be reporting back to work in a few months. After all, you were not furloughed or laid off due to underperformance, but COVID-19.
When you are furloughed, it is a perfect time to learn a new skill, improve your personal brand, and fix up your resume and online profile. Also, this is a good time to remain updated on advancements within the dental industry. And most importantly, try to avail yourself for potential dental temp jobs, as you wait to be recalled to your old post.