For nurse recruiters seeking information on the professional values of prospective job candidates, there are two points to consider — how can you tell if a survey’s findings are valid and, if so, what can you do with this information?
Nurse.com’s 2018 Nursing Salary Research Report passes the validity test and gives employers mounds of useful information to use for recruiting purposes.
“We hit it right, had a big distribution, good demographics and I feel confident the statistics in our survey are reflective of reality,” said Robert G. Hess Jr., PhD, RN, FAAN, executive vice president and chief clinical executive at OnCourse Learning and founder and CEO of the Forum for Shared Governance. As Nurse.com’s career blogger, Hess helped develop the questions for the nursing salary survey.
Nurse.com’s 2018 Nursing Salary Research Report analyzed data provided by 4,520 nurse respondents from across the U.S. The report not only gathered data on nursing salaries but also on other work-related issues of interest to nurses, such as job satisfaction and willingness to relocate and commute.
Understanding the factors that contribute to job satisfaction and those that detract from it are essential pieces of knowledge for successful recruiting, said Derek Zeller, director of recruiting solutions and channels at ENGAGE Talent in Portland, Ore.
“Any information related to business intelligence is helpful,” he said.
Two of the main takeaways for recruiters from the research report are salary and benefits are the top two factors that lead to job satisfaction across genders and generations.
“Salary is the most important factor for nurses across the generations, with benefits seen as the second most important characteristic nurses look for when seeking employment,” said Jennifer Mensik, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, a Nurse.com by OnCourse Learning consultant who developed questions for the survey, analyzed the data and authored the research report.
Report highlights nursing salary differences between genders
The survey uncovered some key differences between male and female nurses.
“Men are more likely to work in a float pool or as registry RNs (8% men vs. 5% women), travel further for their jobs, be travel nurses (5% men vs. 2% women) and be more willing to relocate to another state (23% men vs 16% women),” Mensik said.
Armed with this data, recruiters may want to consider directing more resources toward out-of-state recruiting for male nurses.
Recruiters also should remember men are more interested in working in float and registry positions when looking to fill those roles, she said.
Male and female nurses in our report also show differences in education level. Female nurses with BSNs outnumber male nurses, and more females than males have earned a professional certification, Mensik said.
Despite this gap in education level, men earn higher salaries than women. In fact, they make more than $6,000 on average per year.
“Men make more money than women, even when taking into account total hours worked, their years of experience as a nurse, comparing ages and examining educational level and certification status,” Mensik said.
Men also outnumber women in the practice of salary negotiation — 43% of male respondents said they negotiate “most of the time or always” and only 34% of female respondents stated this.
“Men are more likely to negotiate salary with recruiters as opposed to women, and recruiters may have come to expect this,” Mensik said. “There may also be a bit of unconscious bias with some recruiters. The may want to ask themselves if they are offering men more money, even with less education and no certification.”
As a male nurse, Hess said he has always engaged in salary negotiations and males do tend to negotiate pay rates more than women. He believes this might contribute to the higher salaries men earn compared to women in nursing and other professions.
One surprising statistic, said Hess, was that 19% of the male nurses surveyed are considering leaving the nursing profession versus 13% of the female nurses.
“There are still issues for men in nursing. There are some biases toward male nurses such as the belief that men are only in nursing because they couldn’t get into medical school,” he said.
Hess said he encourages male nurses to join the American Association of Men in Nursing because they provide men mentoring and support to navigate the female-dominated nursing profession.
U.S. regions and specialties also show differences in nursing salary
Experts agreed recruiters should keep regional salary differences in mind so they’re offering pay rates in the ball park for their states or ZIP codes. This will keep your offers from being too low or too high.
In addition to region, said Zeller, recruiters need to consider the specialty for which they are recruiting. “The salary offered to an RN at a clinic in rural Arizona would be a tough sell when trying to recruit an ED nurse in Los Angeles,” said Zeller, because of large differences in pay between those two regions.
Nursing generational differences are present, but minimal
The analyzed data didn’t find too many differences between nurses of different generations, Mensik said.
“When examining the differences, they were minor and few,” Mensik said. “However, younger nurses are more willing to relocate than older nurses, with millennial males even more willing to do so. Baby boomers are less likely or willing to relocate.”
Access to accurate data can improve the nurse recruiting process and help with more targeted and effective nurse retention, Zeller said.
“Recruiters also need to reflect on what it was like when they looked for a job,” Zeller said. “Nurses are human beings. Listen to what they are saying. For many nurses it’s not just a job, it’s their life. They provide their patients with great care and the human touch. They’re not different from anyone else. They want job stability, good pay, the opportunity for professional growth and a safe environment to work in.”