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Physician Job Market Trends Under Covid-19

The healthcare system has been under a great toll since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are increasing economic drawbacks in revenue and patient volume. Many hospitals across the US had to furlough staff members and reduce payments as a means to survive the crisis. Employment also decreased drastically.

While hospitals made cutbacks across selected areas to redirect resources to dealing with Covid-19 patients, other healthcare facilities also suffered losses. Under incentives to stay indoors and keep social distancing, many clinics and private practices have closed their doors. Other physicians have sought alternative methods, like telemedicine to continue helping their patients.

Increase of Unemployment

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the unemployment rate of physicians has increased. This is a trend that has affected the entire medical field. In April alone, jobs declined by 1.4 million throughout the sector. At the forefront of this unprecedented plummet of the job market were physicians and dentists.

However, the industry is trying to regain its footing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has announced that in November last year, unemployment went down 6.7%. What is more, more jobs were added to the physicians' job market than in October, the number of openings reaching 21,000.

Pay Cuts and Furlough

The private practice sector was hit particularly hard. Physicians reported their revenue cut in half since the onset of the pandemic. Furthermore, many offices are in danger of closing. Layoffs are not a common occurrence on the physicians' job market, so many were taken aback by this development. Some facilities opted to cut work hours as a temporary measure to keep their staff on.

Less Recruitment Despite Physicians Shortage

Low recruitment in the healthcare system is mainly due to a shift in priorities for the hospital administration and the economic hit taken by the sector. Given the current crisis, staffing might not be considered important enough to allocate the necessary resources.

Fewer job opportunities have a great impact on the career development of final-year students and residents. Many will not be able to go to their top choices, their expectations from before the pandemic might not be realized. Some of them might face important decisions, like changing specialties. The situation is considered a temporary setback. However, we are currently still waiting for the healthcare system to bounce back.

A Higher Competition for Open Positions

If before the pandemic, many residents and final year students were getting up to 100 job offers, now the situation is very different. The number of candidates for an open position is much higher than it used to be.

What is more, candidates who are knowledgeable about the latest technological advances might have an edge over their competitors. During the pandemic, telemedicine has become increasingly popular, as it allows for a long-distance doctor-patient interaction.

The pandemic might influence demand in specific fields. For example, specialties like infectious disease, pulmonology, and critical care might witness higher recruitment rates after the emergency state is over.

A Shift in Priorities

Physicians looking for employment under the pandemic have shifted their priorities. If before the onset of the virus, one of the most important criteria was the location, that is no longer the case. Under the extended financial instability, candidates are more interested in work conditions and possible benefits like childcare. In short, people value lifestyle more than ever before.

Certain states, like California, were known to face a growing shortage of physicians even before the pandemic. However, the current shift in candidates' focus might start filling some of those available physicians jobs in California.

Final Thoughts

The health crisis brought on by Covid-19 has withered the once-blooming physicians' job market. The high unemployment rate, however, is in stark contrast to staff shortages reported by many hospitals. Currently, the physicians' job market is highly volatile and is often painted in contrasting colors. Unfortunately, this is expected to continue for the duration of the pandemic.