2016 Physician Recruitment Trends You Need to Know

As summer moves in so does the new recruitment season and according to the May/June issue of The New England Journal of Medicine's piece regarding "The Medicus Firm’s 2016 Provider Placement Summary", Primary Care is still the largest area of placement for physicians. In 2015, that summary reported that 35.57% of all placements were for Primary Care positions (including Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Family Medicine disciplines). In addition to this finding, the summary noted that Advanced Practice Providers (Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners) were also in high demand as placements increased to 8.3% of all placements (up from 6.34%). In fact, Advanced Practice Providers are now fourth when it comes to the most placed positions. After reviewing these numbers it’s clear that the competition for Primary Care and Advanced Practice Providers is only going to increase. What will your health system do to make sure those candidates choose your offer? Here are some suggestions based on these physician recruitment trends that you can start thinking about for 2017.

Reevaluate Your Sign-On Bonuses

While it isn’t always necessary to offer a sign on bonus for every position, it is always a welcome and competitive element in an offer package. The summary noted that the amount of sign-on bonuses actively decreased from 74.15% to 68% this past year, but the reason seems to be that the amount being offered is going up. To be competitive, healthcare systems are clearly making sure bonuses are tied to the positions they are desperate to fill. Consider each position you have to offer and think about whether a bonus across the board structure will increase your hire rate or if being more selective will increase your success.

Consider Area-Specific Recruitment Marketing

According to Medicus, “The southeast region remains the most desired region, (23.5%), but the Pacific (CA, NV, HI) took second place this year (14%), pushing Northeast/New England to third, to tie with Mid-Atlantic, at 12% each.” If your healthcare system isn’t in the most desired region, consider pushing your marketing department and recruitment advertising firm to come up with original ideas that drive physician candidates to your area and showcase what you have to offer in terms of work/life balance. In fact, that summary found that, “more than 70% of residents and fellows selected “Work/Life Balance” as one of their top two practice concerns.”

Advertising avenues such as keyword strategy, social media promotion and overall recruitment branding are key to positioning your network as a place to live and work.

Think About Your Salaries

Salaries are a big factor for physicians who are being courted by multiple systems. According to the survey, “Approximately 29.6% of physicians project an increase in their 2016 income, as compared to what they earned in 2015 (down from 39% the previous year).” However, “Nearly 20% of respondents plan to make a career change within 12 months. About 8% are “definitely” leaving, and another ten percent are “most likely” making a career change. Only 27% indicated they are definitely NOT making a career move this year, which is down from previous years (34% last year, and 43% the previous year definitively ruled out a job change).” First of all, the number of optimistic providers is going down. The majority are aware that a raise may not be in store for them and second, they are clearly unhappy with their current position. With 20% of physician responders saying that they plan to leave their current position, the field is wide open for new health systems to make competitive offers to top-level talent. 


Physician recruitment is an ever-changing field. To stay competitive you must work on your employer recruitment brand and promote what you have to offer in a targeted manner.

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