Demand for radiologists holds steady

June 9, 2005

Radiologists may not quite be kings of the world of recruitment, but they have staying power.

Radiologists may not quite be kings of the world of recruitment, but they have staying power.

For the last two years, radiologists have been the second most highly recruited physician specialists, while first place has changed hands. Salary incentives aren't bad either, according to a survey by recruiter Merritt, Hawkins & Associates in Irving, TX, that covered a 12-month period from April 2004 to March 2005 ("this year") and a comparable period in 2003/2004 ("last year").

Search assignments for radiologists increased from 202 last year to 218 this year. The 6% jump represents the first increase in radiologist searches since a high of 252 in 2001.

The average salary offered to recruit radiologists has never dwindled. Radiologists were offered an average of $286,000 in 2001. This year, they can expect $355,000, up from $336,000 last year.

While radiologists maintained second place for recruitment searchers, orthopedic surgeons and cardiologists seesawed between first and third. After their recruitment numbers had decreased the last three years, cardiologists saw a 28% jump this year, from 181 to 231. That put them at the top of the list.

Search assignments for orthopedic surgeons stalled at 210, ending a three-year growth period and dropping them into third place.

Salary offers for cardiologists and orthopedic surgeons have also increased steadily over the last four years. Offers made to cardiologists went up 10% this year, from $292,000 to $320,000. Income offers for orthopedic surgeons jumped from $330,000 to $361,000, a 9% increase.

Calls for internal medicine practitioners jumped a whopping 51%, increasing from 124 to 188 and putting them fourth on the list. Jim Merritt, president of Merritt, Hawkins, attributes the rise to a growing elderly population.

Family practitioners continued their comeback, inching from 165 last year to 166 this year and placing fifth. The average salaries offered to recruit internists and family practitioners were $161,000 and $150,000, respectively.

The survey, conducted in 49 states, found that salary offers to radiologists were highest in the Midwest, followed by the Southeast, Northeast, and West. The per-region income offers averaged $362,000, $360,000, $340,000, and $310,000, respectively.

Several recruitment trends seen in 2005 are noteworthy, according to Merritt. He suggests that the challenges associated with recruitment are greater than ever, reflected in the fact that the firm conducted searches in every state but Rhode Island. The company has experienced increased calls for recruitment in prime coastal and mountainous regions, areas that once had no trouble attracting talent.

Size of community affected has also changed in the last five years. Searches used to be confined to communities of 25,000 people or less, but most searches now occur in communities of 100,000 or more.

The survey does not indicate how many radiologists accepted beachfront jobs.

For more information from the Diagnostic Imaging archives:

Feeding frenzy calms down

Radiology departments mothball 'help wanted' signs

Demands of volume coverage drive use of teleradiology

Radiologists salaries jump again