In a tight job market where the time it takes to find another leadership position can take a lot longer than expected, some executives are tempted to consider a career change. That is understandable, especially in industries like healthcare where market consolidation and business model contraction have created a highly competitive environment for available positions.

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But, changing careers is easier said than done. Most service industry positions, seemingly a natural option for an out of work healthcare executive, pay considerably less than running a hospital or even an ambulatory surgery unit.

Common Questions

As I consult with displaced executives across the US, the two most common “career change” jobs I am asked about are consulting or working in healthcare overseas.

Consulting salaries for partners vary widely although there is more pay parity here in this segment. At Accenture, the range is $293,589 to $538,000 plus bonus, depending on the industry and scope of responsibility, according to salary surveys. At McKinsey, the average salary range for a partner is $530,177 to more than $1 million, plus bonus. To provide context, the average associate earns $142,000.

The most important thing to remember when considering an offer to join a consulting firm is that Senior Directors and Partners are expected to bring in new business. Some call this rainmaking but make no mistake, it is sales, and if selling is not something you enjoy, or can do, then you might want to tap the brakes.

Working Overseas

Running a hospital overseas is gaining in popularity as an option for displaced executives but here, too, there is competition for the best positions. The most common destinations are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and India. Other locations include Singapore and the Republic of the Philippines. The salaries are typically comparable to what US hospital executives earn with allowances for housing, continuing education and one to three trips back to the US each year. Managing the operational elements of these hospitals is similar to those in the US, save the cultural norms of a given country and differences in revenue cycle. The regulatory and clinical standards are identical. Employment contracts range from one to three years, on average.

The important thing to consider here is that unless the assignment is a career capstone, an executive must invest between $15,000 to $25,000 in a repatriation strategy. Many returning executives have reported significant challenges to finding a job once they are back in the US. The “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” rule is one issue, but the most common hurdle to overcome is the belief that being away from the US market means you are no longer up to date which means you are not a desirable candidate.

Hospitality and Hotel Management

Some clients have also asked me about hotel management and the hospitality industry. The typical Marriott International Hotel General Manager salary is $92,530. Hotel General Manager salaries at Marriott can range from $46,140 – $160,000, according to Glassdoor, a global job search site. At Hilton, the average hotel GM salary is $83,106 with a range of $55,836 – $167,926. Bonuses and tips will push the total cash compensation numbers higher. The salary range for the luxury segment is higher, up to $279,563, Glassdoor reports. Of course, the hospitality industry does require plenty of resilience and ability to manage the stress of everyday tasks, as it can involve long hours and tiring jobs. Of course, those with sufficient relevant experience could receive opportunities for working in top-tier positions that pay well. However, starting out from the bottom would mean obtaining a certificate in hospitality from any reputed organization around the world to match the skill set required for the job, and climbing to the top eventually. That could work in one’s favor too.

I have had a couple of inquiries regarding the funeral industry. There is a lot of money that can be made here, provided that your company offers professional services to their clients. In the day and age that we live in, you will receive your first opinions of a funeral company by looking at their website, which makes it more important than ever that you use a web design company like Plenty of Pixels ( to help create a website that is neat and easy to navigate. Only then will more people be tempted to use your business, and when they do, that means more money. If you own a funeral home you can develop a comfortable income in a good market, but for a highly regulated business with strenuous education, licensing and, in some states, apprenticeship requirements, the salaries are shockingly low, in the 45,000 to $55,000 a year range for a Funeral Director. Funeral Directors who are also licensed embalmers can make slightly more, on average.

Allure of Buying A Franchise

Franchise opportunities are another option. There is a common and mistaken belief that buying a franchise is safer than starting from scratch. The industry likes to promote the belief that if you go into business for yourself, you should not have to be in business by yourself.

The franchise industry has a history of (over) hyping their glowing successes but as in life, in business, there are no guarantees. I find it fascinating that the now discredited “research” that touts a 90 percent success rate for all franchised businesses has not been replaced by a more recent independent analysis.

In a 2013 article for Entrepreneur Magazine, Jason Daley wrote: “The SBA (Small Business Administration) has released papers showing that in the early 2000s, defaults on its loans were higher for franchised vs. independent businesses. But the most comprehensive study was conducted in 1994 by Timothy Bates, professor emeritus at Wayne State University. His analysis of more than 20,500 small businesses found that 65.3 percent of franchises survived after four years, compared to 72 percent of independent businesses. Retail franchises fared worse, with a 61.3 percent survival rate, vs. 73.1 percent of independent retail businesses.”

Healthcare Franchises

There are several types of healthcare-related franchise opportunities, primarily in-home and senior care, with Senior Care Lehigh Valley services, amongst others throughout the states, being used for those who want to stay in their homes and be looked after, and my advice this segment might be a safer bet for healthcare leaders who want to remain in their industry versus opening a franchise food or printing business. Learn more about senior care facilities across the country on

If one of your dreams of owning a business is to be creative in how you operate the enterprise, buying a franchise may not be the right move. Most franchise agreements require strict adherence to operating plans, pricing, marketing and other promotions, but for managers who excel in a structured business, the franchise might be a good option. Just read the fine print.

Owning a business can be rewarding but the glowing stories of success all came with huge costs of time, energy, commitment, frustration and resilience.