Significant shifts in hospital C-suite recruitment

Dive Brief:

  • A new survey by Billian’s HealthDATA and Porter Research concludes that six out of 10 hospital C-level executives are recruited from outside of their organizations.
  • While 60% of CEOs are recruited out of house, the story is different with COOs, who are only recruited externally 27% of time. COOs are also the internal exec most likely to advance to CEO, accounting for 44% of internal promotions.
  • The study also found higher rates of promotion by women to top C-suite roles, with chief nursing officers accounting for 17% of internal promotions to COO. Also, 28% of new hires at the C-suite or director level were women, 38% being named CEOs, 26% CNOs and 13% being named COOs.

Dive Insight:

Taken as a whole, the new survey reflects a number of shifts in C-suite recruitment, including a growth in women serving as healthcare leaders in both the hospital sector and among health payers. Previously reported research found that as of this spring, women represented half of hospital COOs and one-third of chief financial officers. (It may take longer for women to play a conspicuous role as healthcare CEOs, as they continue to be an underrepresented in these positions across American business generally.)

Other trends suggest that while only 3% of C-suite placements are hired from outside the hospital/healthcare sector, that number may be changing the near future. In fact, a poll by Black Book Rankings done in late 2013 found that hospital HR departments are increasingly seeking leaders with backgrounds in finance, not healthcare, and projected that a full two-thirds of hospital CEOs hired this year will have a non-healthcare background. 

And in yet another emerging trend, healthcare organizations are increasingly recruiting hospitalists for C-suite positions in deference to their practical knowledge of hospital operations. They’re also seen as a useful asset in recruiting, retaining and developing other physicians professionally given their credibility as fellow clinicians.

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60% of C-suite execs hired from outside

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