Demand for Physicians Surges 7 Percent in 2018

Dec 05, 2018 · Doximity Insider

As the U.S. population ages and continues to grow, the employment demand for doctors and other health professionals is also increasing. This past year, as the U.S. economy grew, the market for physicians and nurse practitioners reflected that strong growth.

In our latest research study, we found that physician employment opportunities grew by 7 percent in 2018, outpacing the 5.1 percent growth seen in 2017. The report, which drew from a sample of 8,000 physician job ads nationally, revealed that certain geographic areas in the U.S. are seeing an increased demand for physicians.

In addition, the report found that while demand for primary care physicians remains strong, hospitals and other healthcare organizations are increasingly looking to hire more physician specialists.

The top five specialist areas with the most demand include:

  1. Family Medicine
  2. Internal Medicine
  3. Emergency Medicine
  4. Psychiatry
  5. Obstetrics and Gynecology

While the physician shortage in both primary and specialty care has been well documented, our research indicates that some rural and regional areas may already be experiencing the impact of a provider shortage.

According to U.S. Census data, by the year 2035, there will be 78.0 million people ages 65 and older, compared to 76.7 million under the age of 18. And while medical advances are allowing more people to live well into their 80s and 90s, they also have more cases of chronic illness and disability than previous generations.

“Our research shows there are a number of factors driving physician demand, including an aging population that will require more medical services and increased administrative tasks for doctors,” said Christopher Whaley, Ph.D., lead author of the report and adjunct assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.

In addition to meeting the increased needs of an aging patient population, our country is also facing an aging physician workforce that adds to the physician shortage. One-third of all current physicians will be older than 65 in the next decade.

The report found the top five geographic areas that have the highest demand for doctors include:

  1. Tucson
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Little Rock
  5. Baltimore

New to the study this year, we included Nurse Practitioners (NPs) to get a better sense of the total demand for healthcare pros.

For nurse practitioners, the most in-demand areas are:

  1. Fresno
  2. New Orleans
  3. Fayetteville
  4. Albany
  5. Baltimore

In addition to employment opportunities, the report also found the increased demand for physicians and nurse practitioners doesn’t always correlate with higher salaries. Compensation was obtained through our self-reported surveys of 70,000 fulltime licensed U.S. physicians and 7,500 nurses.

Demand within the primary-specialty care market in specific regions has resulted in increased compensation.

The regional areas that saw the highest growth in compensation for physicians are:

  1. Fresno (15 percent)
  2. New Orleans (15 percent)
  3. Fayetteville (13 percent)
  4. Albany (13 percent)
  5. Baltimore (12 percent)
  6. New Haven (12 percent)

For nurse practitioners, the wage growth occurred in cities including Little Rock (13 percent), Des Moines and Omaha (14 percent), Milwaukee (12 percent) and Philadelphia (10 percent).

The demand for physicians and nurse practitioners is expected to continue throughout 2019 and into the next decade as well as a general uptrend in physician compensation.

This article originally appeared in Becker's Hospital Review:

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