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Highest Laboratory Vacancy Rates in Central Northeast States: 2018 ASCP Vacancy Survey Report

The medical laboratory profession has experienced the loss of personnel with a vast amount of experience as most of the Baby Boomers who had planned to retire in 2016 have now retired, according to the recently published 2018 ASCP Vacancy Survey report.

While overall retirement rates are at their lowest since the last vacancy survey conducted in 2016, vacancy rates for laboratory positions across all departments surveyed are considerably higher, according to the findings published in the May 2019 issue of AJCP. That’s due, in part, because fewer individuals have been entering the profession to fill the vacancies of those who have retired.

“Retention is something we always discuss with regard to the vacancy survey report,” said Edna Garcia, MPH, ASCP Director of Scientific Engagement and Research. “This time, we are really putting a lot more emphasis on retention of current employees. It needs to get the same energy and effort as recruitment. This is a topic that laboratory professionals can suggest their administrators address in their respective workplaces.”

Conducted every two years, the ASCP Vacancy Survey serves as the primary source for industry, labor, government, and academic analysts. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians for 2016-2026 will be 13 percent faster than the average projected growth compared to all occupations, indicating the need for more laboratory professionals to fill upcoming vacancies.

Kaylee Lipska, MT(ASCP), a member of the ASCP Vacancy Survey Work Group, said she was not surprised to see that the top three issues the survey identified for recruitment and retention were limited potential for advancement, additional compensation and workload stress. “I am seeing a trend in health care, overall, toward a desire for better work life balance, meaning fewer hours, no weekend hours, no holidays, no evening shifts, etcetera, which may directly impact recruitment to this profession,” she said.

In addition to recruitment and retention, the survey findings also recommend that laboratory supervisors concentrate on addressing the multigenerational differences that exist between laboratory personnel as it relates to retention. At present, there are four generations that now work in the medical laboratory in the United States.

Each generation has unique characteristics, goals and work ethics, and specific management styles need to be used to appeal to each generation. The survey report recommends that laboratory managers target their employees’ strengths to maximize their potential as laboratory employees and encourage them to stay in the field.

Overall, the survey results show that the largest number of vacancy rates are in the Central Northeast (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), whereas the lowest number of vacancy rates are in the Central Northwest (Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas).

To read the full report, click here.

About ASCP
Founded in 1922 in Chicago, ASCP is the world’s largest professional membership organization for pathologists and laboratory professionals. ASCP provides excellence in education, certification and advocacy on behalf of patients, anatomic and clinical pathologists and medical laboratory professionals. To learn more, visit Follow us on Twitter at and connect with us on Facebook at

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