Physician employment surged in 2018

Physicians were in high demand in 2018, with a 7 percent increase in job growth from the previous year, according to a recent study.

Healthcare in general recently became the biggest employer in the United States, but physicians' growth boomed beyond the 5.1 percent growth rate in 2017, according to Doximity, a medical social network that conducted the study. The high demand signals that more physicians will likely be needed in the future, as well.

“The economy saw strong growth this year, and the healthcare sector was no exception,” Amit Phull, MD, Vice President of Strategy and Insights at Doximity, said in a statement. “However, the demand growth we’re finding seems to be outpacing the strong economy, and it’s possible that this represents an early warning of demand outstripping the available supply of medical talent.” 

While job postings also grew significantly in 2018, demand for physicians varied widely across different geographic markets. Job growth was highest in Tuscon, Arizona, at 20 percent in 2018, followed by Los Angeles (19 percent), Chicago (19 percent), Little Rock, Arkansas (18 percent) and Baltimore (17 percent). St. Louis trailed in job growth with 3 percent.

The most in-demand specialties for physicians included:

  • Family medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Emergency medicine
  • Psychiatry
  • Obstetrics & gynecology

However, higher demand did not always correspond with higher salaries, according to the report. Still, many regions saw high pay growth for physicians.

Here are the highest pay growth areas for physicians in 2018:

  • Fresno, California––15 percent
  • New Orleans––15 percent
  • Fayetteville, Arkansas––13 percent
  • Albany, New York––13 percent
  • Baltimore––12 percent
  • New Haven, Connecticut––12 percent

Looking into 2019, demand for physicians will likely continue to be varied across different markets, though the overall uptrend will continue, the report predicted. Furthermore, AI is not expected to have an impact on this demand, particularly as more older adults age into Medicare and drive up healthcare needs.

The report also ranked the top markets for pay growth for nurse practitioners, which ranged from 15 percent in Little Rock, Arkansas, to 3 percent in Columbus, Ohio.

The most in-demand specialties for NPs included:

  • Family NP
  • General NP
  • Adult care NP
  • Psychiatric-mental health NP
  • Acute care NP

The report looked at a sample of more than 8,000 physician job advertisements as well as 70,000 self-reported compensation surveys.