With rising demand, physicians are contacted 100 times or more by recruiters

Physicians are a hot commodity right now, with demand for the role rising around the country. That makes finding a job for newly trained physicians easier, according to a new survey from Merritt Hawkins, a physician recruiting firm.

The healthcare sector is the largest employer in the nation, and physicians have their choice when it comes to where they want to work. This is good news for the profession, which has a high bar as aspirants must complete four years of college, four years of medical school and three to seven years of residency training in addition to passing a licensing exam.

Fortunately, 66% of physicians received 51 or more job solicitations during their training, the survey found. Another 45% said they received 100 solicitations or more. Merritt Hawkins surveyed 391 final-year residents and fellows in a wide range of specialties.

This trend was true across specialties, with 69% of primary care residents receiving 51 or more recruiting offers during their training. The same was true for 69% of internal medicine subspecialists and 64% of surgical specialists.

However, the number of recruitment calls could be overwhelming; the majority––63%––said they are contacted too often by recruiters, and only 7% said they weren’t contacted enough. Despite all the opportunities, 19% of residents said they wouldn’t choose medicine as a career if they had a do-over.

“Physicians coming out of training are being recruited like blue chip athletes,” Travis Singleton, executive vice president of Merritt Hawkins, said in a statement. “There are simply not enough new doctors to go around.”

Job preferences

For physicians, geographic location was the No. 1 priority when considering a job opportunity, before a good financial package and availability of practice time. About two-thirds of residents who complete both medical school and residency in a given state end up staying there, and nearly half stay in the state where they completed residency.

The resident matching program in the U.S. matches medical students with residency programs each year, though several hundred graduates do not get matched each year, essentially blocking them from practicing medicine. This is true even as the demand for physicians continues to rise.

As such, residents on the cusp of completing their programs are a target for recruiters of hospitals, medical groups, community health centers, urgent care centers and other providers. Almost half (45%) of residents said they would be most open to working in a hospital settings than any other type of setting, with only 2% being open to a solo practice and 7% open to partnering with another physician. Employment with a single specialty or multispecialty group was preferred by 34% of residents.

Many of these preferences underscore that residents don’t have a ton of formal business training. Only 8% of residents said they were prepared to handle the business side of medicine, while 54% said they are somewhat prepared and 38% are unprepared. The lack of preparation can have a negative impact on residents as they are inundated with recruitment offers, including underestimating their market value as a first-year practicing physician.

See the full report here.