Check out these hot spots in the physician job market

By Jonathan Ford Hughes
Published May 19, 2021

Key Takeaways

Looking to relocate? Doctors might have better luck looking for new gigs in Florida and Texas, according to The Medicus Firm’s 2021 Physician & APC Summary. The annual summary is a compilation of all of the firm’s physician job search and placement data over the past year. The Medicus Firm placed more than 20 doctors each in the Lone Star and Sunshine states.

The next cohort of states included those with 11-19 placements. Those states are (in no particular order):

  • California

  • Oklahoma

  • Wisconsin

  • Illinois

  • Missouri

  • Arkansas

  • Louisiana

  • Indiana

  • Ohio

  • Georgia

  • New York

  • New Jersey

  • Maryland

All other states had 10 or fewer placements.

Industry in recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic created a year like no other for physicians and their employers. The resulting complications had effects quantifiable in dollars for doctors and healthcare systems. For example, the American Hospital Association predicted $120.5 billion in losses for hospitals and healthcare systems from July-December 2020. Add that to the estimated $202.6 billion in losses from March-June 2020.

The bulk of those revenue declines, The Medicus Firm reports, may stem from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services directive to stop most elective and non-emergent care. Non-COVID patient volume cratered while care costs, driven by heightened infection control procedures and PPE, increased.

Doctors even lost jobs or faced furloughs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the healthcare industry saw unemployment rates of 10.3 percent, 9.5 percent, and 7.1 percent in April, May, and June of 2020, respectively. The rate stood at 3.7 percent in March 2021. 

COVID, however, is likely to be a temporary anomaly. The BLS projects 4 percent growth for physicians and surgeons through 2029, “about as fast as the average for all occupations.” Looking ahead to 2033, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AMC) predicts a physician shortage between 54,100 and 139,000 by 2033. This includes primary and specialty care. The primary care shortage is projected to be between 21,400 and 55,200 doctors. The Medicus Firm placement data may support this. For the third consecutive year, Family Medicine ranked as the most-placed specialty. Here’s the Medicus Firm’s full breakdown, ranked from the most to the fewest placements:

  • Family medicine

  • Internal Medicine

  • Obstetrics & Gynecology

  • Gastroenterology

  • Cardiology

  • General Surgery

  • Dermatology

  • Neurology

  • Anesthesiology

  • Psychiatry

  • Urology

  • Pediatrics

  • Hematology/Oncology

Where physicians are going

There also appears to be a clear trend in the placement data. Most of the new hires are going to small- or mid-sized communities. The Medicus Firm defines small communities as consisting of fewer than 25,000 people. Mid-sized communities have from 25,001-200,000 people. According to the firm, 35 percent of their placements went to small communities, and 44.6 percent went to mid-sized communities. 

The same is true for specialty types, which included primary care, hospital based, surgical, IM subspecialties, neurology/psychiatry, pediatric subspecialities, and advanced practice. The majority of each went to small- or mid-sized communities. Primary care had the most small-sized community placements (46.2 percent), neurology/psychiatry had the most mid-sized placements (55 percent), and pediatric subspecialties had the most large-sized community placements (42.9 percent).

Perhaps reflecting AMC’s projected primary care shortage, primary care physicians led in the total number of placements. Here’s how the specialties break down:

  • Primary care: 31.3 percent

  • Surgical: 30.3 percent

  • IM subs: 18.9 percent

  • Hospital-based: 10.4 percent

  • Neuro/psych: 6.7 percent

  • Pediatric subs: 2.4 percent

Placing employed physicians

The Medicus Firm’s findings also appear to track with general physician employment trends. For example, the American Medical Association’s 2018 Benchmark Survey found that for the first time, employed physicians (47.4 percent) outnumbered practice-owning physicians (45.9 percent). The remaining 6.7 percent are contractors, the AMA says. 

Among the Medicus Firm’s physicians, 53.8 percent were employed by hospitals, 38.9 percent took group-practice jobs, 4.8 percent went solo, and 2.5 percent made other arrangements. 

Yes, COVID-19 was and is difficult, leaving physicians with physical, emotional, and financial wounds. With luck, and prevailing vaccination trends, hopefully the pandemic will be confined to the pages of history. Regardless, the Medicus Firm data seems to support the idea that physician demand is here to stay. Look no further than the fact that among all the doctors seeking work, nearly 70 percent were placed in fewer than 120 days.


According to a new Medicus Firm survey:

  • Florida and Texas received the most placements from the Firm.

  • Family and Internal Medicine led the way in placements by speciality, tracking with national physician demand.

  • The majority of The Medicus Firm’s placements went to small- and mid-sized communities, also tracking with trends in national physician demand.

  • More than half of the Firm’s placements became employed physicians, following the overall national decline in practice-owning physicians.

  • Among the doctors who worked with Medicus Firm, nearly 70 percent were placed in fewer than 120 days.

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