During a time of growing physician shortages, it’s even more important to understand how to make physicians feel valued in their work. Here are some of the top trends worth paying attention to from the 2023 Physician Compensation Report.
Unlike previous years, the average physician salary did not increase across the board in 2022, but certain key specialties did see increases.
Despite last year’s increase in physician salary rates, the average salary rate for physicians did not increase in the past year, and may in fact have declined slightly, as physician salaries did not keep pace with inflation.
However, many specialties did see increases, with emergency medicine and pediatric specialties seeing the most significant increases.
Here are the top 10 specialties that saw the highest salary increases in 2022:
- Emergency Medicine
- Pediatric Infectious Disease
- Pediatric Rheumatology
- Preventive Medicine
- Pediatric Cardiology
- Thoracic Surgery
- Plastic Surgery
- Pediatric Emergency Medicine
There is an urgent need to address physician burnout.
In May 2022, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory alerting the public to the growing crisis of healthcare worker burnout. The most recent surveys bear this out: 86% of physicians surveyed in the most recent physician compensation report stated that they are overworked. Over a third of them are considering early retirement, and two thirds are considering changing careers.
Even before the pandemic, physician shortages have been a growing issue––the U.S. is facing a projected shortage of over 100,000 physicians in the coming years, and we’re already seeing the impact of those shortages today. While the number of physicians in the U.S. is growing, the rate of growth isn’t yet keeping up with the U.S. population, especially its aging population.
That makes it even more crucial to prioritize the well-being of physicians, and ensure that they feel valued, fulfilled, and well-compensated for their work.
More and more physicians are turning to supplemental work.
An increased number of physicians are turning to supplemental work. Almost half of the physicians reported that they were likely to take on supplemental work or work additional hours to account for these economic pressures like inflation. This accounts for much of the growth we’ve seen in locum tenens, which was projected to grow 7% in 2022.
For physicians who are turning to locum tenens work, there are a lot of financial rewards. Because of the high demand due to increasing physician shortages, hospitals are willing to pay higher locum tenens salary rates in order to fill their staffing gaps. According to recent physician compensation reports, self-employed physicians––including locum tenens physicians––made 20% more than employed physicians last year.
The majority of physicians are more interested in work-life balance than money.
Most physicians cite that autonomy and work-life balance were more of a concern for them than financial compensation. According to a recent poll, a significant majority of physicians– (71%) of physicians reported that they were willing to accept lower compensation to gain more autonomy over their working hours.
This isn’t surprising, given that almost 2/3rds of healthcare providers report feeling burnt out at work. But locum tenens can help: with locum tenens, physicians can choose when and how often they’d like to work.
Because more and more facilities rely on locum tenens to provide coverage, physicians have a litany of options available for how often they practice––whether it’s one or two weeks a month, occasional weekends, or long-term assignments.