employee turnover

Over the last year, dental workers have returned to the job market in large numbers, and many returning workers took positions with new employers. With the current shortage of dental workers, many employers are concerned about retaining current employees.

DentalPost’s new 2022 Dental Professional Salary Survey Report provides data to help dental practice owners and managers gauge their level of risk for losing one or more team members during the next year due to current job dissatisfaction or planned retirement. 

The following data provides only a snapshot of some of the information that will help employers and employees assess how they compare with others in the dental industry at the end of 2021. You can access comprehensive online salary survey reports for each of the following dental professions on www.DentalPost.net.

Here’s A Snapshot

Associate/Employee Dentists:
  • 29% plan to apply for a new job within one year. The average annual income of those who plan to apply for new jobs within one year is $165,926. So, employee dentists earning below or near that income level are the most likely to seek new employment. 
  • 4.5% plan to retire in the next two years. Nearly 88% of them are 55+ years of age.

View Full Dentist Salary Survey Report

Dental Hygienists: 
  • 14% dental hygienists plan to apply for a new job within one year. The average annual income of the 14% who plan to apply for new jobs within one year is $67,178. Dental hygienists earning below or near that income level are the most likely to seek new employment.
  • 8.5% plan to retire in the next two years. Nearly 85% of them are 55+ years of age.

Note that in the case of dental hygienists, hundreds of survey respondents made open comments that registered dissatisfaction with one or more aspects of their current jobs. Feeling underpaid was the top source of dissatisfaction. Nearly 25% said time constraints, new practice leadership, and practice policies are interfering with their ability to do their best work. 

View Full Dental Hygienist Salary Survey Report

Dental Assistants: 
  • 27.5% plan to apply for a new job within one year. The average annual income of those who plan to apply for new jobs within one year is $36,821. Dental assistants earning below or near that income level are more likely to seek new employment.
  • 4% plan to retire in the next two years. Nearly 60% of them are 55+ years of age.

Comments from respondents indicate being underpaid is top of dental assistants’ minds. Following that is a desire for a more respectful and appreciative work environment. Only 4.5% of comments indicated their dissatisfaction stems from COVID risks. A smaller 3.5% of commenters indicated their dissatisfaction is due to a recent change in practice ownership.

View Full Dental Assistant Salary Survey Report

Dental Practice Managers/Administrators: 
  • 15% plan to apply for a new job within one year. The average annual income of those who plan to apply for new jobs within one year is $55,604. Open comments indicate they desire higher pay. So practice managers/administrators earning below or near that level are most likely to seek new employment.
  • 4.25% plan to retire in the next two years. Nearly 69% of them are 55+ years of age.

View Full Dental Practice Manager Salary Survey Report

Billing Specialists: 
  • 31.75% plan to apply for a new job within one year. Furthermore, the most expressed sentiment in their open comments reveals many billing specialists feel frustration that they have hit an income ceiling. The average annual income of those who plan to seek new employment this year is $42,800. Billing specialists earning below or near that level are most likely to seek new employment.
  • 5% plan to retire in the next two years. 75% of them are 60+ years of age. 

View Full Dental Billing Specialist Salary Survey Report

Other Front Office Team Members
  • 32% plan to apply for a new job within one year. In open comments, many expressed feeling underpaid and underappreciated. In addition, the average annual income of those who plan to seek new employment this year is $33,668. Moreover, front office team members, who perform customer service and administrative tasks at the front desk, are most likely to apply for a new job if they are earning below or near that income.
  • 6% plan to retire in the next two years. Additionally, 89% of them are 55+ years of age.

View Full General Front Office Staff Member Salary Survey Report

The Primary Reasons For Turnover

Year over year, DentalPost surveys demonstrate the top motivators to seek new employment are the desire for higher wages and feeling underappreciated or limited in career potential where they currently work. DentalPost’s Dental Professional Salary Survey Report posted this month enables employers to compare what they are paying their team members to the average of what others are paying in their state. Dental employers who are paying less than their state average or have not given a pay raise in the last two years are at heightened risk of employee dissatisfaction.

If you are at risk, consider giving a pay raise in the first quarter of 2022 that exceeds the typical cost-of-living increase. Then, employers can have a conversation with each employee about appreciation for their contributions and also discuss with them some of the inflation realities dental businesses are facing. 

Collaborating with team members on a plan of objectives for 2022 to meet today’s practice challenges will reveal team concerns and relieve unspoken tension. Ideally, employee engagement will be boosted by the process. And even if some ideas to address concerns are impractical, solutions will hopefully surface that everyone owns and will happily implement.

Coming Up Next: DentalPost’s Q1 2022 Satisfaction Survey

To dig deeper into the nuances of what dental employees are feeling about their jobs in clinical settings across the country, DentalPost has designed a Q1 2022 survey to focus on job satisfaction. Click here to learn more about the survey.

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