Why Physicians Aren't Changing Jobs
Healthcare recruitment has had its challenges recently. As the result of a pandemic and a labor shortage, and now an impending recession, physicians are taking a pause when it comes to considering new job opportunities. Why is this occurring? Below, you will find some things to consider when carrying out your physician recruitment efforts.
When you think about the obstacles that exist in physician recruitment, there are two perspectives to consider: already practicing physicians and newly graduated residents and fellows. While some of the hesitancy from both sides may overlap, these two groups are at different points in their careers, and as a result, different reasons for hesitancy when considering job opportunities.
Already practicing physicians have concerns based around already being settled in one location. They have found the facility at which they are happiest, their compensation is favorable, and they’ve finally settled somewhere and no longer have to bounce around as they did during school. This group of physicians has settled into a routine and a work-life balance that best suits their needs, so to them, considering a career in a new location is risky. While they can be moved, two factors are causing a pause in their decision-making: unaffordable housing in the new geographic location and the concern for the financial stability of the health system that is courting them. Comparable housing in a new location is not attainable with the current housing market, and changes in the economic climate may cause job elimination following a health system merger or acquisition. In addition, the health system merger could change the practice parameters of the new job.
Pause from newly graduated residents and fellows is caused by a different set of factors. These factors include terms listed in the job descriptions of open positions (specifically loan repayment benefits), the current state of the housing market, the political climates of the locations in which they are applying for jobs, and the current state of the health systems at which they are applying for jobs. There is still residual concern from the physician job market of 2020 that job offers are not a guarantee and can be rescinded at any time. Before the pandemic, physicians were cautious about accepting jobs without taking a close look at the health of the health systems at which they were applying for jobs. During this consideration, they look at things like timeliness, equity, integration, and efficiency.
Newly graduated residents and fellows tend to focus more heavily on facilities with openings that offer student loan repayment (specifically Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF). Physicians graduate from medical school with a significant amount of student loan debt, and until now, have relied heavily on either living with family or on modest housing to save money. Once they graduate from medical school, they want to branch out and get settled somewhere.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic started back in March of 2020, the housing market has been unstable as a result of an economic shutdown. The shutdown caused a supply shortage, which, in turn, affected supply and demand, resulting in inflation. Physicians are continuing to graduate from medical school at the same rate, but high housing costs paired with a large amount of student debt are causes for hesitancy from physicians.
One of the faster-rising causes for pause is a state’s political climate on recent political issues. Many physicians are focused on the political climate of the location(s) in which they are applying for jobs. Some physicians look at whether the jobs they’re interested in are in a blue state or a red state, the state’s stance on recent political issues, and how that stance may affect their future.
These issues cause a lot of pause for physicians, which, in turn, is causing difficulty for physician recruiters everywhere. From there, we see a chain reaction on all fronts.
With all of this being said, there are things you can do as a physician recruiter to help physicians in their decisions to change jobs. Some obstacles are out of your control, such as housing costs and political climate, but you have the opportunity to take action. You can do things such as leverage the affordability of housing in your geographic area, evaluate your state’s political climate to determine whether or not it is a favorable differentiating factor, build awareness of the financial position of your health system, and talk up capital investment, new construction, and market share.
As always, if you have any input on physician recruiting, whether related directly to this article or not, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org! We love hearing from you!
Crystal Carter, Marketing Specialist
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Paul Olzak, Director of Client Sourcing at PracticeMatch