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Who is Radiology?

Who is Radiology?

Every year, the ACR digs into the anatomy of the radiology field with its Human Resources Workforce Study.

The study, which largely exists to analyze who today’s radiologists are and what they do, is also a useful tool for evaluating the state of radiology as a field. This year’s study held some especially promising, and interesting, results as radiologists continue to worry about the job market, lack of female involvement, and an aging workforce.

In the infographic below, we present some noteworthy data collected from the 2015 ACR Commission on Human Resources Workforce Survey.

The respondents were group leaders identified by the Practice of Radiology Environment Database; they represent over 12,000 radiologists, or 39% of all practicing radiologists, and 1,742 groups or 32% of all groups. The ACR reports that the geographic makeup of the respondents was similar to that of the membership of the ACR, making it a representative sample.

Twenty-one percent of radiologists are women, but the highest concentration of women is in the younger than 35 age group (32%) – a possible indication that more women are entering the field. Women are still behind in leadership positions, though, with 14% of all male physicians holding leadership positions and only 7% of all female physicians holding these positions.

According to the ACR, for the first time, the percentage of body imagers in the workforce is greater than the percentage of general radiologists. The authors of the study attributed this trend to retirement of older radiologists who practiced general radiology, as opposed to the newer radiologists who took on subspecialty training.

Especially interesting in this year’s study, though, is that respondents revealed how much time fellowship-trained radiologists spend working in their areas of expertise. Only 39% of radiologists spend the majority of their time in their areas of expertise. Fellowship-trained radiologists in academic university practices are most likely to spend most of their time on their subspecialties: 74% spend more than three-quarters of their time on their subspecialties. Alternatively, only 32% of radiologists in private practice spend more than 50% of their time on their subspecialties.

The study’s data showed that 2013 was the worst year for the radiology job market, with only 1,069 individuals hired by radiology practices. In 2012, that number was 1,407. The study’s results showed that approximately 1,300 individuals were hired in 2014. The study projected that in 2015, approximately 1,200 jobs would be available, with the highest percentage in general interventionalists (14%) and the lowest in general radiologists (7%). Forty-seven percent of these jobs were projected to be in private practice.

The authors were cautiously optimistic about the state of the job market, but warned that available jobs might still not be in the most desirable or preferred locations. They also noted that with 7% of radiologists being older than 65, and 22% of radiologists being between 56–65, the workforce dynamics could change drastically when these individuals retire.

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