Where are the Highest Paying Nursing Jobs?

Which States Have the Most Severe Nursing Talent Gap?

While technology jobs are notoriously hard to fill, in the United States (as well as other countries) today it’s actually harder to find nurses than software engineers. Even though interest in nursing jobs is growing around the globe, the demand for nurses in the US is still very high and shows no signs of declining. Our team examined Indeed data on the growing demand for nurses in the US by state and what employers can do to attract these in-demand workers.

demand for nurses in the US by stateJob seeker interest in nursing roles meets about one-third of employer demand. This trend is interesting because Indeed shows nearly 400,000 job postings for nurses in the US. The continuous demand for nurses has grown so quickly that the pipeline of talent struggles to keep up.

With rapid growth in demand for nurses and a much slower growth in supply, many cities are seeing nursing shortage that is approaching crisis levels. In California, in particular, extreme nursing shortages in mid-size cities like Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto and Sacramento have led to some of the highest living-cost-adjusted wages for nurses in the country. Other major cities are also facing similar supply shortages in nursing.

These are the 15 cities where nursing salaries go the furthest:

CityAverage Salary Adjusted for Cost of Living
1. Fresno, CA $81,344
2. Bakersfield, CA$80,731
3. Modesto, CA$80,368
4. Sacramento, CA$76,870
5. Portland, OR$73,958
6. Riverside, CA$73,742
7. Phoenix, AZ$72,548
8. Anchorage, AK$68,158
9. Houston, TX$67,101
10. Seattle, WA$65,856
11. Oxnard, CA$65,402
12. Santa Rosa, CA$65,113
13. Los Angeles, CA$65,092
14. San Diego, CA$65,092
15. Atlanta, GA$63,862
The cities on this list were ranked by calculating the average hourly salary for registered nurses in the US from 2015 thru 2016 by metro area and adjusted the salaries based on cost of living (as provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis).

Several factors are contributing to the global demand for nurses. People are living longer around the world thanks to advancements in healthcare services. The United Nations even says the number of people aged 60 or older is expected to exceed two billion by 2050. Another factor is leading to increased demand for healthcare in the US has been the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 20 million individuals have gained insurance since its implementation in 2010.

Both of these factors are creating a strain on the nursing labor force that has the potential to cause a breakdown in how healthcare system. Registered Nurses are projected to have the second-highest job growth over the next 10 years of all the 800 different occupations listed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thankfully, demand among job seekers in nursing is again on the rise. But what can healthcare recruiters do to find the talent they need to keep facilities running and our population healthy?

Developing and nurturing the pipeline of qualified nursing professionals is one way to ensure an organization is prepared for the fierce competition for nurses. Better compensation, greater professional autonomy, stronger management and training programs, and more flexibility in location and scheduling could make nursing careers more attractive and rewarding for job seekers.  

Another is building a strong employer brand that extends your reputation out to the labor force. Use your Company Page, employer reviews, career site and social media profiles to showcase your organizational culture and tell compelling stories about your workplace and employees. The channels can also be used to highlight your benefits packages such as flexibility and compensation.

While competition for nursing talent is high, Indeed offers a full suite of tools to help you find the best healthcare talent anywhere. Visit indeed.com/hire to get started today.

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