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Survey: Residents make career decisions earlier

Worried about debt and seeking work-life balance, residents are largely seeking employment-based opportunities, and they seem to be making career decisions earlier than ever.

Moreover, in a trend that may have implications for retention, these young doctors demonstrate a bit of naïveté regarding the business side of medicine.

However, they are not naïve about their worth and, for the most part, have a healthy concept of what compensation to expect.

These are some of the findings from the Merritt Hawkins & Associates (MHA) 2008 Survey of Final Year Medical Residents. Of the 290 respondents, 36% are in primary care and the rest are surgical and diagnostic specialists; 20 specialties are represented.

Ninety-four percent of final-year medical residents surveyed said they had been contacted by recruiters at least 11 times during the course of their training. Eighty percent said they had been contacted by recruiters 26 times or more, and 40% said they had been contacted at least 51 times.

The lesson for third-party recruiters is it's less about landing the sale and more about serving as a resource. Increasingly, recruiters need to be career counselors. Low-balling residents doesn't work, but providing residents with a road map to help them navigate those early years could pay dividends.


This article was adapted from one that originally ran in the November issue of Physician Compensation & Recruitment, a HealthLeaders Media publication.