Job Front: 2014 looks bright for IT, health billing pros

Sacramento-area employers will have to work hard to recruit and retain employees in 2014, as regional demand for financial, health care and information technology professionals is expected to rise next year.

Employees and job seekers alike will have to bolster their skills to stay relevant.

Those are among the takeaways from Menlo Park-based staffing firm Robert Half, which just released its salary guides for 2014. The guide is the firm’s yearly listing of starting salaries for positions from accounting and finance to technology to administrative support and other careers, along with employment trends.

Kimberly Stiener-Murphy, the staffing firm’s branch manager in Sacramento, said health care will be a sector to watch in 2014 as the region’s health networks – Dignity Health, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health and UC Davis Health System – continue to hire for Affordable Care Act needs.

Back office, revenue-side positions will especially be in demand, she said.

Health care employers are “wanting expertise in the revenue cycle at all levels – anything to do with billing,” Stiener-Murphy said.

Indeed, medical billing positions are among the anticipated hot positions in Sacramento next year, according to Robert Half, with a projected salary increase in 2014, from a top figure of $46,000 in 2013 to $50,000 a year in 2014.

Other in-demand positions next year, in no particular order, are manager-level financial analysts, senior-level general accountants and business analysts, software developers and the hottest, database administrators. Robert Half projects a nearly 19 percent salary jump for database administrators in 2014 to a top salary of $156,000.

The staffing firm said it is also seeing increased temp-to-hire activity and “we’re seeing long-term temps finally convert” to permanent positions, Stiener-Murphy said.

But keeping valued employees under the roof while recruiting top younger talent will challenge area firms in 2014, Stiener-Murphy said.

“Retention is going to be critical in 2014. It’s one issue (companies) will have to deal with from an employer standpoint,” she said.

The reasons are at least threefold:

• Restless employees in an improving economy will be more willing to test the job market for new opportunities.

• Workers with college degrees and three to seven years’ experience, who make up a sizable chunk of a company’s workforce, are in short supply, Stiener-Murphy said.

• Younger, tech-savvy workers are looking not just for a job, but for interesting, challenging work.

“Securing younger workers will be an issue,” Stiener-Murphy said. “Employers will be spending more money not only because technology is expanding, but because workers want to be challenged.”

For employees and job seekers, assessing your skills and embracing new ones continue to be vitally important to your future in that job or toward landing a new one, Stiener-Murphy said.

“If there is a skill set that you know your job needs, you need to find a way to do it,” she said.

Contact us

Is your company hiring?

Is your organization hosting a career fair or offering job training?

Contact Job Front at dvsmith@sacbee.com.