Demand for specialists is surging in many areas like radiology and orthopedics, but it is falling for primary care physicians, according to a review of physician search requests by the search firm of Merritt, Hawkins & Associates in Irving, Texas.
The survey, released today, also finds that financial offers to specialists are rising but are flat for primary care physicians.
Reviewing 2,405 searches from April 2002 to April 2003, the survey also found that 38% of offers to all doctors in the past year included income guarantees, up from 23% in 1999 to 2000.
The survey adds that 36% of offers included signing bonuses, up from 24% in 2000, with the average bonus of $15,000 remaining fairly consistent over that time.
The report says demand still centers on four specialties: radiology, orthopedic surgery, cardiology and anesthesiology. Together these fields make up 30% of all searches. In radiology alone, it says recruiting offers have increased by 41% in the past four years.
But the report also shows that demand is now also rising for urology, neurology, pulmonology, otolaryngology, neurosurgery, psychiatry and pediatrics subspecialties.
"Some hospitals and medical groups, having addressed the needs in high-demand areas such as radiology and cardiology, are building and expanding their staffs in areas they may not have addressed," according to the survey.
It adds that average income offers made to specialists increased across the board, rising 13% for radiologists alone.
Meanwhile, the company reports a decline in demand for primary care physicians, especially internists, while income offers to primary care were almost flat. Searches for internists fell 26% in the past year, the company says.
"Facilities that may have been seeking internists last year as a way of addressing specialty needs have either met those needs in some cases or are committed to finding internal medicine subspecialists," the survey adds.
Here, with number of searches and average income offered, are the top 15 specialties in terms of searches made:
- Radiology, 230 searches, $317,000 average salary
- Orthopedics, 191, $315,000
- Cardiology, 188, $280,000
- Anesthesiology, 134, $290,000
- Family medicine, 122, $146,000
- Internal medicine, 113, $150,000
- OB/GYN, 110, $237,000
- General surgery, 84, $242,000
- Gastroenterology, 69, $240,000
- Psychiatry, 59, $162,000
- Pediatrics, 58, $146,000
- Urology, 56, $277,000
- Neurology, 55, $180,000
- Pulmonology, 44, $228,000
- Otolaryngology, 42, $270,000