The global pandemic is rightly focusing substantial attention on health investments at the federal levels, offering new opportunities for government contractors in the federal health space. Yet those same dynamics will bring new competitors into the health arena, and will make executive search for the top federal health executives more competitive, and more difficult.
Already over the past year-and-a-half, federal legislation is delivering hundreds of billions of dollars into new federal health programs that will require support from government contractors. The agreements by the Administration and Congress for significant increases in funding for programs across the government—The White House is proposing a 20 percent increase to $51 billion for NIH alone—means new programs across the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes for Health.
Policies and programs to greatly extend the healthcare safety net, together with a big push to modernize electronic health records and apply technologies to federal health solutions through major new contracts that will soon be competed, will entice a large new cadre of commercial players into the government contracting space. And that will result in a need to identify and recruit new leaders in the industry who can position their companies for growth.
Yet, that’s where the challenges begin for contractors who may find themselves stuck in the traditional IT-type services model, where teams are onsite at the government customers’ office locations. That traditional approach to providing services is outdated, and doesn’t reflect how top executives prioritize their work preferences.
Coming out of the pandemic, workers want more options on how they work and where they can work from. Commercial companies have already made great strides to provide the work-life flexibility and compensation that attracts the top talent. Traditional government contractors who do not adapt will find themselves less attractive in their executive searches for leaders who can help them grow in this new environment. As a result, they may find themselves losing out on valuable new long-term opportunities.
Government contractors who are embarking on executive search for federal health professionals need to evaluate what they are offering to prospective candidates to ensure they are competitive in this evolving market. They also need an executive search partner who understands the challenges in the industry and can provide the experience and insights to identify and win the best talent in this challenging market.