Mood of the Market

Long-term care leaders overwhelmingly think that better salary and adding staff would be the top two ways to improve working conditions at nursing homes.

They were the most popular options registered by respondents in the 2020 McKnight’s Mood of the Market Survey released this week.

The feedback from 381 nursing home administrators and nursing directors also found respondents feeling less appreciated and less confident in their supervisors compared to a year earlier. The survey, which was conducted over a week ending in early August, follows a similar survey conducted in 2019.

When asked, “What is the one change that would most improve your job satisfaction?” the top responses were salary (23.1%) and more staff (22.6%), the latter a new option in this year’s survey. Better insurance or benefits (another new category) was next at 10.5%, followed by more paid time off (9.7%) and more training (8.1%). 

Last year, the top overall responses were more training (21%), higher salary (17%) and more paid time off (13%).

“WIth everything going on [with the public health emergency], training is not necessarily what people are focused on,” said Matt Leach, principal and senior consultant for Total Compensation Solutions.

Broken down by vocation 2020, nurses’ top five this year were: higher salary and more staff (both 24%), better benefits and more training (both 9%) and more paid time off (7%). Administrators led with better salary (23%), more staff (22%), more paid time off (12%), better benefits (11%) and more flexible scheduling (8%).

Less appreciated?

Overall, 81% of respondents said they felt their work was valued “a great deal” (45%) or “a moderate amount” (36%). That was down from 88% a year earlier.

“I’m sure managers and executives are doing their best, but they’re under a lot of pressure and stress, so [the findings are] not surprising at all,” said Mark Heston of Heston and Associates.

Added Leach: “It’s kind of crazy out there, and if they’re being asked to work extra hours without extra pay, some people might think they’re being taken advantage of.”

Meanwhile, confidence in the prospects of their supervisor helping them advance their career dropped from 74% in the more optimistic choice ranges in the 2019 survey to 68% in this year’s poll. Two-thirds of administrators said they trusted their direct supervisor to advance their careers either “a lot” (42%) or “some” (26%), while the overall supervisor-trust level was 71% for nursing directors (42% “a lot” and 29% “some”).

Other findings of the 2020 McKnight’s Mood of the Market Survey can be found here, here and here.