Getting a new job is an exciting but daunting time for anyone, but for dentists. now is a particularly good time to be on the hunt for a new role. The market is hungry for new recruits, offering increasingly higher earnings and job packages to attract new blood, helped along by recruitment agencies that may just be the secret to securing these golden opportunities.
According to the latest (fifth edition) report by healthcare business market analysts LaingBuisson, the dental market is wide open for dentists looking for a new job.
LaingBuisson’s Dentistry UK Market Reporti published on 29 January 2019, says there was 22% fall in new dentist registrations in the UK over the past two years despite growing patient demand, meaning those dentists who are currently working, are much sought after.
The report shows there is a steady ‘High Street’ dentistry market valued at 27.1 billion but warns that there are serious recruitment difficulties in some parts of the country where NHS demand is high and insufficient dentist hours have led to shortfalls in contracted NHS work and patients seen. The lack of flexibility on dentists’ earnings for purely NHS work has contributed to trouble attracting new people to practices.
Report author Philip Blackburn, says: ‘Modest UK growth is projected for several years, though Brexit holds a wild card on the economy and EU labour supply. Also difficulties in the recruitment and retention of dentists and other dental professionals poses a risk for dentistry market growth in general.
‘Many dental employers face significant recruitment and retention challenges for NHS work in certain areas, which are compounded by Brexit concerns.’
Who better to help in times like these than recruitment agencies? These bodies know the market inside out and how to help dentists and practices fill posts.
Malcolm Barker, Managing Director of MBR Group, the dental and optical recruitment specialists, explains: ‘The dental recruitment market is forever challenging and has ‘been over the last few years.
We speak to dental practices on a daily basis and many practices are struggling with their recruitment. It’s non region specific (although u some regions do struggle more than others) and tends be the IJK recruitment market as a whole.
‘This hasn’t always been the case. Back in 2011, we had a situation where there were more dentists than vacancies and, for a short period, this pushed salaries down. Now salaries are on the up due to sheer demand.’ In particular demand are associate dentists, as he adds: ‘We have seen a change in the market. A lot of dentists have chosen to work as a locum rather than take an Associate position which seems to be adding to the issue of finding permanent dentists.’
The firm currently has around 800 vacancies across the UK compared to just fewer than 400 when the business started in 2015.
‘We have more requests from dental practices than ever before to provide recruitment support,’ explains Barker. ‘Practices are finding it more and more difficult to recruit directly themselves. Its taking longer periods of time for practices to recruit and they’ve not always been successful.
‘We utilise our expertise in the market and have more resources when recruiting for dental professionals. This helps attract dentists quicker and gives us a wider internet presence.’
One impact of this on the market is that salaries are rising to attract recruits, as he continues: ‘The problem that practices are facing are when dentists attend an interview, is that they have several options available to them and salary is always a factor that is taken into account. Higher salaries have been in place over the last 12 months and this has now become the norm.’
Luke Arnold, Director of Recruitment Services at Dental Elite agrees that the dental market is at its ‘most challenging’, saying: ‘The amount of permanent roles available are at an all-time high and the same with locums.
‘It is still difficult. You can tell it’s getting harder as practices that would never of used an agency to recruit are now being forced into instructing multiple agencies to stand a chance of recruiting what they need.’
The changing market is working to the advantage of the individual dentist currently, as he explains: ‘l have been recruiting in the dental sector since 2011. I have noticed that in the last 24 months the amount of companies struggling to recruit without an agency has increased massively.
‘l put this down to an ageing workforce of dentists, not enough UK dental schools to meet demand and also the reduction of EU entrants entering the market.
‘This has put the power with the candidate. This means that they are being offered record high IJDA rates, private remunerations, golden hellos and clinical support. Not all practices can be as competitive as they need to be, and Wilf suffer.’
Dentists and practices considering a new job could do very wetl by using a recruitment agency, he argues, saying: ‘What have you got to lose? Agencies are a no placement no fee service. By using an agency alongside your own normal direct recruitment, you will be able to select from the true market of available candidates instead of just settling for what you have.
‘We provide recruitment on a locum and permanent basis nationwide. Indeed statistics say that one in four people are looking out for new roles. A good agency allows you to contact the other three out of four who are not looking.’
The current state of the market is too tilted one way, according to Paul Holborn, Director at dental recruitment firm Blue Sky People Ltd, who says: ‘We’ve got a very significant skills shortage”
BRITISH DENTAL JOURNAL I FEBRUARY 22 2019