It’s Not Like It Used To Be….

It’s been a few years since we’ve had to do any personnel recruiting at my own Dental Office. So you can imagine my surprise discovering what awaited me and the things that have changed in the employment landscape over the last three years.

Now I’m not sure whether the changes in the employment environment have been a gradual thing that I’ve just not been aware of on my own personal basis, but I sure felt like I’d entered a whole new world and was having to make an immediate and significant assimilation, just to survive.

I felt akin to the feeling, and I don’t know this one first hand, but I’ve heard that for divorcees re-entering the singles market, that the rules of dating and the dating landscape are quite different to how things were the last time around. And that, for some singles, can be intimidating. And frustrating.

So back to the Sydney dental employment market….

Firstly, there just doesn’t seem to be as many quality applicants around any more.

This could be due to number of reasons.

The recent artificial increase in numbers of registered dentists may be having its effect on ancillary staff, with the employment pool being stretched to spread over the extra dentists out there setting up dental offices.

You would think though, that as dentistry is a supply and demand sort of industry, that the amount of patients needing dental treatment across a city or a county or a state would reflect upon the number of ancillary dental staff needed.

So with a sudden rapid increase in the number of dentists being registered, to treat the same number of patients in the population, with the same number of employees to choose from, then there are far more positions available for auxiliary staff to pick and choose. Therefore, when a new position, like mine, enters the job market, there aren’t that many potential applicants around to jump at the prospect of new and better employment.

Secondly, there appears to be a dumbing down of applicants coming in. Not only to apply for positions vacant, but also to help out as well.

The nature of employment law down here in Australia is just so heavily weighted against the employer now.

When I first entered the non-dental employment landscape back in the 1970s, people were afraid of losing their job.

Now it’s almost impossible to lose your job.

Way back then, you were terrified to be absent, or to do something wrong, in case you got the sack.

In 2014, it’s impossible to be fired. It’s called “Unfair Dismissal”.

Now, in 2014, sick days, whether paid or unpaid, are just taken.

Even temporary staff take sick leave at will.


The agency is having to provide relief staff for the relief staff….

It’s laughable…

Sadly, the thinning of the employment pool is having a detrimental effect on the quality of service our clients, customers and patients are receiving.

And because it has become so difficult to find and hire any committed employees, employers are often forced to settle for second or third best to help out while they continue the search for that ultimate, trained, educated and motivated applicant to step into their role full time.

Even the quality temporary staff from the agency is thinning. Traditionally temporary staff have been good employees often just between full time jobs. Sadly, good temporary staff are also becoming few and far between.

Or is it just that a career in dentistry, as a dental assistant working through the ranks to front office and then office manager, is now not a desirable career being chosen or offered to school leavers?

Are the school leavers of today and the last ten years not even considering dentistry as an option any more?

Because it’s hurting our industry.

It’s hurting our brand.

The end result is that the consumer does not receive the best product.

An industry scratching for sufficient good quality motivated and qualified and successful staff is an industry falling down on its core values.

What’s your industry body in your region doing about this quality manpower shortage?

It’s not OK for the powers that be to be pumping out new graduate dentists and registering overseas trained dentists in large numbers if the ancillary staff aren’t available to make dentistry a pleasant experience for all patients.

The dumbing down, using unmotivated and less than optimally trained staff, will only add to the commoditization of dentistry.

And that’s not a good thing at all…


Employing and training the right people is just one of the straightforward components of  The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system that I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

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