Transition from Resident to Attending

For residents entering final year, a peek at the job market

Timothy M. Smith , Contributing News Writer

AMA News Wire

For residents entering final year, a peek at the job market

Jun 4, 2024

There is good news for final-year medical residents. According to the most recent survey by AMN Healthcare Physician Solutions, formerly known as Merritt Hawkins, job solicitations are likely to abound.

The survey found that the job market for residents has wholly bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, only 30% of residents said they had received 100 or more job solicitations, but that number jumped to 56% in 2023. This was the highest number since the survey was first conducted, in 1991.

“Employers want younger physicians because they feel they don’t have to worry about succession planning around them,” said Leah Grant, president of the AMN Healthcare Physician Solutions division, a major health care recruiter. “Those doctors are able to come into a system and grow, so everyone wants them.”

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The survey also explored a number of other areas, such as final-year medical residents’ professional satisfaction. For example, 51% of women residents reported getting 100 or more job inquiries. That was a full 10 percentage points lower than their male counterparts.

And while just 3% of male final-year residents expected to earn $200,000 or less annually, that was the expectation of 16% of women. In addition, 53% of men expected to make $326,000 or more annually, compared with just 32% of women.

Grant said that women physicians had every right to expect to make as much money as comparably trained men. Getting the right compensation can come down to “knowing the questions to ask in interviews,” she said.

Learn more with the AMA about understanding physician employment contracts.

Almost half of respondents, 48%, said they felt unprepared for the business side of medicine, and a majority, 61%, said they had received no formal instruction on it.

This might be why a large majority, 68%, said hospital employment was their first or second preference for a practice setting—only 6% selected solo practice. Many resident physicians have no acquaintance with private practice, apart from whatever they may have experienced as patients.

“It's critical to have that education because they're being put out there to receive those 50 or 100 job offers, but they simply have no idea which questions to ask to evaluate them,” Grant said.

The AMA has assembled a variety of resources to help physicians flourish in the employment setting.

They include the AMA Physicians’ Guide to Hospital Employment Contracts (PDF), free for AMA members and the Annotated Model Physician-Group Practice Employment Agreement (PDF).

Explore these five key lessons for resident physicians on the business side of medicine.