Part two of the survey focused on the then-upcoming 2021–2022 hiring season, which is now under way. In pre-COVID days, the specialty’s primary web-based job search site, EDPhysician.com, averaged 1,700 jobs on any given day. During COVID and as recent as July 2021, that number dipped dramatically to about 500 listings.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 40 – No 10 – October 2021
Who is hiring? Of all respondents, 68 percent will be hiring, while 32 percent, composed primarily of small emergency medicine groups or single hospital employers, will not. Large national groups anticipated hiring just over 1,000 physicians, while the smaller employers hoped to add a collective 150 new physicians. Of those who are hiring, 31 percent will see an increase from the pre-COVID workforce, while 47 percent will stay the same.
Finally, the survey asked when employers anticipated beginning the recruitment process. Just over half of employers (52 percent) planned to open for applications in July, 10 percent planned to initiate hiring in September, and 6 percent will start interviewing in January 2022. Of those who will be hiring, 62 percent will not consider primary care boarded candidates.
Part three of the survey focused on compensation levels for this season’s new hires. Of employers that are hiring, 79 percent will retain pre-COVID compensation levels, while 21 percent will experience a compensation level as much as 20 percent lower. As for up-front incentives, 50 percent of employers will offer the same bonuses as pre-COVID levels; the other half will lower the perks they offer. Most of the cuts will be from sign-on bonuses, with employers either reducing the amount or eliminating these deal sweeteners altogether.
Finally, the survey inquired about employers’ other concerns for the emergency medicine job outlook. A representative from a large national physician owned group replied, “Rural, less desirable locations will always be in shortage. Hospitals will have to incentivize providers to live and work in those locations in the form of money. If they do entice with dollars, unfortunately, turnover in those areas will be an ongoing problem.”
The emergency department chief of a multisite Midwestern group stated, “I am concerned with cost cutting by hospitals by reduction of board-certified emergency physicians overall and movement toward mid-level providers.”
The representative of another large national group mentioned factors that excite him: “It’s about the value of the training we get. We really have the skills to care for a broad scope of patients from critical care to jail medicine. There continues to be lots of opportunity in emergency medicine.”
And the chief of a large medical center emergency department opined that he was concerned about multiple factors: “The increase of private-equity ownership of EM practices, the increase in emergency medicine programs that are started for the purposed of creating cheap labor, and the replacement of physicians with APPs as it relates to private equity.”