Why physicians leave - and how recruiters can help

Published on: Dec 30, 2019


For the previous few years, the healthcare industry has operated with a critical shortage of talented employment candidates, leaving certain positions open. In fact, according to a study from the Association of American Medical Colleges, there will be a forecasted shortfall of as many as 122,000 physicians by 2030.

As Craig Fowler, vice president of The Medicus Firm consulting agency, told NBC News, this shortage begins at the higher education level. Now, more students are shifting their focus from healthcare careers to those in STEM industries. But the problem of a shortage of talented medical professionals isn't unique to higher education.

Professionals leaving current positions

Professionals that currently hold physician and other high-profile medical roles are leaving their positions - and even the healthcare sector as a whole - at higher rates.

"There will be a shortfall of as many as 122,000 physicians by 2030."

In some instances, these are recent graduates who have entered the healthcare field and discovered that it simply doesn't suit their career goals. In other cases, doctors that have practiced for several years are changing industries and leaving their medical roles far ahead of retirement age.

"Some cite electronic health records (EHRs) as part of the reason - especially old school doctors who don't pride themselves on their computer skills," NBC News contributor Nicole Spector wrote. "And then there are those doctors who left medicine because the cons of the job started to far outweigh the pros."

The latter can concern elements like systematic bureaucracy, or a lack of work/life balance.

How recruiters can change the tides

With fewer graduates pursuing healthcare careers and current professionals leaving, there are a few key strategies recruiters in the industry can consider to help shift conditions here:

  • Shifting administrative tasks away from physicians: Many physicians noted that they spent too much of their time on paperwork and administrative tasks as opposed to with patients. Adjusting certain workloads to shift these processes away from physicians can boost their job satisfaction.

  • Being clear about role expectations: Some medical professionals noted that their career was more tedious or included different tasks than they expected. Ensuring clarity around the job role, including the key responsibilities, can help recruiters find candidates that are well-suited for the position.

  • Enhanced training and onboarding: With so many technical advancements happening in and outside of healthcare, it's imperative to make sure that hiring candidates and current employees have the right skills. Onboarding training should be detailed, and it can help to break the process into phases. Continuing training for current employees is also beneficial, particularly when a new system is introduced.

Bookmark our recruiting blog to learn more about best practices for recruitment and hiring in the healthcare sector. With fewer graduates pursuing healthcare careers and current professionals leaving, there are a few key strategies recruiters can consider.