Young Physicians Looking for More Than Just Compensation

April 11, 2018

A new survey of young physicians gives six lessons on what they are looking for in a medical career.

What are young physicians looking for in in their career? It turns out it’s more than just money.

CompHealth recently surveyed more than 500 millennial physicians who completed their residencies or fellowships in the past four years to find out how they found their first job, how they felt about it, and what made them stay - or move on to the next opportunity.

Here are six things we learned:

1. New technology doesn’t compete with old job search techniques.

While the survey found that almost all millennial physicians are using social media and smartphones, they’re not using them to land their first job. Good old-fashioned networking and referrals are used by nearly half of physicians and 40 percent are finding jobs through those methods.

2. Physician job satisfaction is high.

One of the most interesting data points was that while physicians are very satisfied with their jobs (65 percent were satisfied or highly satisfied), they are still willing to leave a job they enjoy if it is not giving them exactly what they are looking for. Young doctors say what makes them happiest with their employer are good hours, location, being close to family and friends, and culture fit. All of those come before compensation.

3. Compensation is the top reason physicians leave a job.

While compensation isn’t the most important factor in a physician staying in a job, it’s the number one reason a physician will leave. That’s not surprising, considering the amount of student loan debt physicians accrue while in school. The survey found that 74 percent of physicians have substantial debt, with 44 percent owing more than $200,000.

Young doctors are also willing to change jobs if they can find better work-life balance. Many of our millennial physicians tell us they’re not interested in working 60 plus hours a week if it means sacrificing time for family or interests outside of medicine.

4. Searching for a job is stressful.

The survey also found that while physicians are willing to shop for a new job, the search comes with a fair amount of stress. The top stressors include finding the right job fit, negotiating contract terms, negotiating compensation, and relocation.

5. Men and women have different needs in a job.

While women and men are looking for many of the same things in a job - like good benefits and a stress-free environment - they often have different motivators. The survey indicates that women are more likely to take a job with good work-life balance or good management, while men report the financial benefits are their primary motivator.

6. Practice culture matters.

One of the takeaways for practice owners is that if they want to retain young physicians, they need to be mindful of the culture of their practice. Young doctors love practicing medicine, but they want to do it in an employee-centric facility.

As patient load grows and older physicians retire, the demand on physicians’ time will continue to increase. Practice owners will need to find creative ways to create flexible schedules, as half of young physicians report a lack of work-life balance as the reason they left their last job.

Young physicians are the future of healthcare. We all need to work together to keep them engaged in their work, so they will stick around and have a long career in medicine.

Check out the complete survey here.

Lisa Grabl is president of the locum tenens division of CompHealth, a division of CHG Healthcare.