Physician Staffing Blog

Healthcare News and Trends

Survey: Fewer Recruiting Offers for New Physicians

May 11, 2021

Final Year Resident Survey 2021 Cover

By Phillip Miller, VP at Merritt Hawkins


Thanks to COVID-19, it’s going to be a down year for new physicians seeking job opportunities, a new Merritt Hawkins survey suggests.


Conducted periodically since 1991, Merritt Hawkins’ Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents provides a snapshot of how many recruiting offers physicians in training receive, where they would like to start their first practice, how much they expect to earn and related data.


Key findings of the newly released survey include:


  • Medical residents entering the job market are receiving fewer recruiting offers than in past years. Only 62 percent received 26 or more recruiting offers this year, compared to 82 percent in 2019 and 86 percent in 2017.
  • Despite this drop, 86 percent of residents received 11 or more recruiting offers during their training, indicating jobs are still available for most new physicians. 
  • Female residents receive more recruiting offers than male residents. 70 percent of female residents said they received 26 or more recruiting offers during their training, compared to only 54 percent of male residents.
  • Nevertheless, female residents expect to earn less than males in their first practice.  Only 38 percent of female residents expect to earn $251,000 or more in their first practice, compared to 76 percent of males.
  • Relatively few residents are concerned about COVID-19 health risks as they enter their first practice. 45 percent said COVID-19 health risks are very or somewhat concerning, compared to 93 percent who said the ability to earn a good income was very or somewhat concerning.
  • In a bad sign for rural areas, none of the physicians surveyed would prefer to practice in a community of 100,000 people or fewer, while only 3% would prefer to practice in a community of 25,000 or fewer.

Though final-year medical residents received fewer recruiting offers this year than in previous years, the majority received 11 or more, suggesting jobs for new doctors are still available if not as abundant as in the past.   It should be noted the 2021 version of the survey is non-scientific and caution should be taken when extrapolating results to the entire population of final-year residents.


You can download your copy of the 2021 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents here




Phillip Miller is Vice President of Communications for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, companies of AMN Healthcare. He can be reached at phil.miller@amnhealthcare.com


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