US travel healthcare industry increased rapidly, while agencies’ gross margin percentages steadily decreased
NATHO commissions SIA for extensive new travel nurse trends report
New York – August 10, 2023 – The National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO) has commissioned global research and advisory firm Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) to analyze historic travel nurse data for an understanding of market trends. The outcomes and key findings are now included in the 2023 SIA NATHO Travel Nurse Historical Trends Report.
“The COVID-19 pandemic had a monumental impact on healthcare including travel nurse staffing,” said NATHO President Jean Cook. “There has been a lot of information circulating, and with it many different interpretations. NATHO wanted to see the true impacts on our industry based on data. To ensure an independent view, we commissioned SIA to research data and produce a detailed report of their findings.”
The report shows the travel nurse market spending increased substantially within the past 5 years – initially driven by economics, a skill shortage and the aging population. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an industry that was already experiencing a nursing shortage, resulting in an extraordinarily competitive labor market.
Noteworthy findings from the 2023 SIA NATHO Travel Nurse Historical Trends Report include:
- Increased bill rates were necessary to meet intense national demand that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and contributed to the market growth in travel nursing. Compensation was an effective tool for motivating nurses to relocate to high-need areas – such as hot spots that required a targeted public health response and whose demand was met largely by traveling nurses.
- Gross margins for staffing agencies decreased from 26.1% in 2018 to 23.3% in 2022. As bill rates increased, a larger portion was passed on to travel nurses as compensation (52.3%), followed by housing, meals and incidentals (20.7%).
- Travel nurse volume growth was notable from 2021 to 2022, fueled by federal and state government funding to health systems through FEMA and/or CARES. SIA estimates show the average number of travel RNs on assignment grew 39% from 119,829 in 2021 to 166,483 in 2022. More recently the travel nurse market is experiencing a contraction after a peak in 2022.
“The travel nurse market over the last decade represents one of the most fascinating case studies we’ve seen of the way temporary staffing models can help organizations respond to extreme labor market pressure,” said SIA President Barry Asin. “In this study, SIA compiled and analyzed detailed industry financial and operating benchmark data for the past five years to provide an unbiased and data-driven report regarding the travel nurse industry. Alongside NATHO we now present our findings for readers to gain a fuller knowledge about this critical staffing segment and how it continues to evolve post-pandemic.”
The 2023 SIA NATHO Travel Nurse Historical Trends Report is now available online.
About National Association of Travel Healthcare Organizations (NATHO) NATHO is a nonprofit association of travel healthcare organizations that promotes ethical business practices, offers educational opportunities, creates a space for advocation, and sets the gold standard for conduct in the travel healthcare industry.