MerrittHawkins is a large physician recruiting firm. Based on their assignments, they provide interesting data on physician recruiting trends. (MerrittHawkins Survey) For 2016, family practice doctors are the number one most requested specialty, followed by psychiatrists second, internal medicine third, hospitalists fourth and physician assistants and nurse practitioners. Recruiting trends seem to be following other developments in health care. This is the first time psychiatrists have been ranked this high, but given the extreme shortage and the greater demand for behavioral health services, it makes sense. A strong focus on primary care, particularly the greater emphasis on primary care to coordinate and manage all of a patient’s health needs, is a main health care driver today. And trying to limit a patient’s time in the hospital is also a major trend. Steady demand was reported for orthopedists, neurologists, dermatology, gastroenterology, cardiology and urology. Urgent care specialists moved from the 20th most requested to ninth. Most searches (90%) were for employed positions, compared with less that 50% in 2004. The leading source of searches were hospitals, 49%, but down from the prior year, and group practices at 19%. Academic searches accounted for 11%.
18 of 20 tracked specialties had an increase in starting salary. They were up 13% for family practice. Family practice starting salaries had a low of $135,000, a mid-range of $225,000 and a high of $340,000. Psychiatrists had a low of $195,000, mid-point of $237,000 and high of $370,000. Nurse practitioners had a low of $92,000; mid-range of $117,000 and a high of $197,000. Now we get to the really big bucks. ER, dermatology and cardiology all have a low starting salary of $250,000 (hard to call that low, even with student loans), ER’s mid-point was $304,000 and its high was $425,000; while dermatology was at $444,000 and $650,000 and cardiology at $493,000 and $700,000. And then there is orthopedics; with a low of $350,000; a mid-point of $521,000 and a high of $800,000. Remember, these are starting salaries. The southwest tends to pay the most and the northeast the least. 32% of bonuses had a value/quality component, up from 23% in 2015, but productivity is still the main bonus component. Most offers include some relocation allowance, 77% include a signing bonus, 97% cover CME and 26% offer education loan payoff assistance. I would say doctors are doing okay.