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Career Source

Hot Spots: The 2007–2008 Job Market

Katz, Barbara

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doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000296452.29445.67

    It's prediction time again, and as homage to my new southwestern location, I employed the Native American Shaman method to delve into the mysteries of the marketplace for this season. So the old turban sat in mothballs while I drummed and chanted in my backyard sweat lodge to achieve a true vision quest.

    We saw a resurgence of the spring market last season, and this year the news is even better for job seekers: We are in the throes of a candidate-driven market. That means there are jobs galore in many areas and not enough physicians to fill them. But it's not all good news. Perhaps the most important factor creating the shortage of candidates is the sharp decline of the real estate market. Physicians who normally would be open to exploring new opportunities are not because of potential losses from the sale of their homes, assuming they can sell them at all.

    Employers will have to come up with some creative recruitment efforts to get these doctors to risk a move that may result in lost real estate revenue. One group offered a six-month residential stipend, and a few others were offering block shifts that didn't require relocation. Graduating residents who own homes will have to get started with their job search even earlier this year because of this.

    The 2007–2008 job market will be broken down into 32 percent small and regional groups, 32 percent national contract groups, and 26 percent hospital and health care employers. Included in the first category are those larger groups that have gone national in the past few years, like Emergency Medicine Physicians in Canton, OH, that offer full partnership and are wholly owned and operated by emergency physicians. Approximately 15 percent of the jobs available will be in rural areas and a full 32 percent will be open to physicians with board certification in primary care specialties. Directorships are way up, representing seven percent of the nation's jobs, and pediatric emergency physicians also are in demand in two percent of the market.

    The Southeast

    The 10 states of the Southeast lead the way again this year with 29 percent of the job market. Florida will represent 24 percent of the jobs in the region with 61 percent offered by national contract groups. Look for activity in Tampa/St. Petersburg and Orlando (particularly in after-hours pediatric emergency centers) as well as the Gulf Coast. Active national contract group employers in the region include TeamHealth Southeast and EmCare.

    Tennessee will have 15 percent of the region's positions with good levels of opportunity in Nashville and Knoxville, though 48 percent of the state's jobs are open to primary care physicians. TeamHealth's Midsouth division dominates in the Tennessee market.

    Georgia comes next with 45 percent national contract group opportunities and a smattering of jobs around Atlanta. Alabama will lead the country in national contract group opportunities at 85 percent, and will be heavy with primary care opportunity at 66 percent. North Carolina also will have strong areas of opportunity including the metro Charlotte area and the western Smoky Mountains.

    West Virginia opportunities will be spread throughout the state featuring mostly employee situations with hospitals and health care companies. Arkansas will have a moderate level of opportunity with heavy rural positions and 58 percent primary care board acceptance. If you're a beach bunny, you might want to check out South Carolina with a few openings in Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island as well as a job or two in the Charleston region.

    Louisiana and Mississippi will provide moderate activity (nothing in New Orleans again this year) with heavy national contract group jobs at 79 percent and 69 percent, respectively. If you are determined to find employment in Louisiana and along the upper Gulf Coast, the Schumacher Group of Lafayette, LA, is one of your best bets.


    The Midwest

    The Midwest, made up of 13 states, will offer 26 percent of the national EP market, led by very high levels of opportunity in Ohio (23% of the region) including Cincinnati, Toledo, and especially Columbus. Regional groups, particularly Premier Health Care Services out of Dayton, and small groups will offer the greatest amount of opportunity, and there will be several directorships as well.

    Illinois will provide the biggest change from last season with huge opportunity in the Chicago area and equally strong regional and small group jobs at 47 percent of that state's openings. Indiana will have the third strongest market, spread equally around the state (except in Indianapolis) followed closely by Iowa, though that state's opportunities seem to be 50 percent in rural areas and 73 percent open to primary care physicians with ED experience.

    Missouri looks dominant, followed by Michigan and then Minnesota, with no specific hot spots. Kentucky will have strong opportunities and equal distribution as well, though there will be a few jobs in Louisville this season. You also should expect to find jobs in Milwaukee and throughout Wisconsin, mostly with small regional groups (54%). Kansas will be spotty with 44 percent primary care board acceptance. Barely visible in the region are Nebraska and the Dakotas with mostly rural jobs and a few exceptions.

    The Middle Atlantic States

    Fourteen percent of the country's emergency medicine jobs will be in the six Middle Atlantic States, with 35 percent of those in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and the south central part of state will have strong in opportunities, particularly with hospital and health care employers. Virginia will supply about 24 percent of the region's jobs with a small number in the Washington, D.C., area, and quite a few in both the coastal and Blue Ridge Mountains areas.

    Baltimore will be booming with strong opportunities, and the rest of Maryland will be good hunting grounds as well. New Jersey will represent 19 percent of the region's jobs with strong centers of opportunity in the New York City area and central parts of the state. The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area makes an appearance on the EP job radar for the first time in years, but Delaware will remain fairly closed with only one or two positions. While rural and primary care board acceptance opportunities will be high in the Southeast and Midwest, they appear significantly lower in this region, coming in at less than four percent and seven percent, respectively.

    The Southwest

    The growth of the Southwest in the emergency medicine marketplace (12%) can be attributed to the extraordinarily high level of opportunity to be found in Texas with 75 percent of that region's jobs expected. Look for good numbers in Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, and even San Antonio. Employers with strong opportunity will include Emergency Service Partners, a democratic group in Austin, EmCare, and the Schumacher Group.

    Making up most of the balance of jobs in the region will be Arizona with good opportunity around the state, including a few in Phoenix and Tucson. Colorado and Oklahoma will have pediatric emergency medicine positions and a few rural spots to offer, while New Mexico will be represented almost entirely by rural and primary care board positions. Utah currently has a position with a group in the southern part of the state, but I don't expect to see much more there this year.

    Next month I will cover the not-so-hot regions, provide an in-depth analysis of income potential around the nation, and discuss the newest trends in compensation modules, perks, and incentives.

    © 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.