Workforce Shortages

Workforce Shortages

Q: What is the workforce shortage?
A: A workforce shortage refers to a lack of qualified individuals to fill an excess of open positions in a certain career field.

Q: What does the histology workforce shortage look like?
A: According to the 2018 ASCP Vacancy Survey, the total vacancy rate for histology is 8.37%. This is up from the 2016-2017 Vacancy survey, which reported a 5.6% vacancy rate. Supervisor vacancy rates are lower, at 3.82% compared to staff (8.95%). Supervisors reported a higher retirement rate than staff however, at 18.24% compared to staff (11.06%). For the laboratory workforce as a whole, vacancy levels have increased for all department surveyed.

Q: What are the causes of the workforce shortage?

A: There are several reasons why there is a shortage of histotechs. For one, many of our seasoned techs are retiring. There are also few histology programs to train new histotechs. The problem is compounded by a lack of recognition for the histology profession. Histology is currently not recognized under CLIA and does not require a national certification, which can give potential future techs the impression they would be better off in a different field with greater potential for career growth and income.  

Q: Why does this matter to me?
A: Workforce shortages can mean that your lab is understaffed. You are pressured to get more done, often with less resources, which can be a stressful workplace situation, and lead to burn out. Hiring unqualified people to fill the vacancies is also detrimental, to the standards of the profession, as well as to your day to day workflow.  

Check out this video, featuring representatives from NSH, ASCLS and ASCP discussing the trends they are seeing regarding workforce shortages, and how they believe it relates to histology’s unrecognized status.