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The EMN Salary Survey

Happier EPs are Choosing to Stay Put

Lam, Jackie

doi: 10.1097/01.EEM.0000553479.42480.0a
The EMN Salary Survey

Ms. Lam is the associate editor of Emergency Medicine News.

Few emergency physicians reported wanting to move in 2015, and even fewer said so in our salary survey in 2017. That trend was reflected in both male and female EPs—11.6 percent of women said they did not like where they worked and were planning a move, a slight decline from 11.9 percent two years ago, while 8.3 percent of men said the same, a drop from 9.6 percent in 2015. Female EPs were still more likely than their male colleagues to want to move in 2017, and the gap between the two groups widened to 3.3 percent from 2.3 percent before.

It's unclear whether board certification affects the decision to relocate, but the tables have certainly turned for board-certified and non-board-certified doctors in that department. The number of non-board-certified EPs who were happy with their location not only increased at a faster pace but also surpassed that of their board-certified counterparts in 2017: A total of 81.1 percent of board-certified EPs said they liked where they worked compared with 80.4 percent in 2015, and 84.6 percent of non-board-certified physicians felt the same compared with 76.4 percent before. Their positions on the other end of the spectrum have also flipped: More non-board-certified EPs (11.4%) than board-certified ones (9.7%) wanted to move in 2015, but more board-certified EPs (9.2%) were eager for a change than their non-board-certified colleagues (8.4%) two years later.

Willingness to move was directly proportional to decreased career satisfaction in 2015, but our 2017 survey found that more of those who reported high career satisfaction were considering a move imminently. Close to 61 percent of EPs very or somewhat satisfied with their careers said they wanted to move within one year, up from 42.7 percent two years ago, but only 42.4 percent of them were thinking of moving in three years, down from 70.8 percent in 2015. On the other hand, more EPs who were very or somewhat dissatisfied with their careers were opting to stay where they were—38.5 percent said they had no plans to move in 2017 v. 29.7 percent in 2015—and fewer of them wanted to move within one year at 29.7 percent compared with 40.8 percent in our last survey. More of them, however, were contemplating a move within three years at 34.9 percent v. 24.4 percent before.

Similarly, more EPs who made the most were interested in staying put in 2017, but more of them also reported feeling inclined to move somewhere else. Close to 26 percent of EPs who made more than $350,000, the highest income category in our survey, had no desire to move in 2017, rising from 15.2 percent in 2015. This group, however, also saw an increase in the number of EPs wanting to move within one and three years to 16.7 percent from 8.1 percent and to 21.1 percent from 18 percent, respectively. The same held true for the $300,001-$350,000 group, the next highest salary category: Twenty-one percent of EPs wanted to stay where they worked in 2017 compared with 16.1 percent in our previous survey, while 26.4 percent v. 16.3 percent in 2015 wanted to move within one year and 22.8 percent v. 20.5 percent in 2015 within three years.

The highest percentage of EPs looking to move shifted to those ages 41 to 45 from EPs 30 to 35 in 2017. Close to 46 percent of emergency physicians 30 to 35 said they wanted to move in 2015, but only 25 percent said so in 2017. More than 41 percent of EPs who were 41 to 45 reported a desire for change, coming up from 27 percent in 2015. In fact, the number of EPs contemplating a move increased across all age groups from the 36-to-40-year-old cohort up, except for those who were 56 to 60 (16.2% in 2017 v. 35.5% in 2015).

Staff EP continued to be the job title associated with the highest mobility in 2017, with 68.8 percent saying that they were planning to move within one year and 82.1 percent within three years. Even so, those numbers have dropped from 84.6 percent for one year and 92.9 percent for three years in 2015. EPs at executive-level positions, however, have become more interested in change in 2017; the percentage of those working as a chief or director of an ED and wanting to move within one year rose to 16.9 percent from 14.1 percent in 2015 and that within three years inched up to six percent from 4.8 percent two years before.

Employer satisfaction appeared to be a more reliable predictor of whether EPs wanted to move than career satisfaction. Those who were very or somewhat satisfied with their employers were even happier with where they worked in 2017, and that translated into smaller percentages of them seeking a change in location within one year at 24 percent, falling from 29.9 percent in 2015, and within three years at 25.8 percent, a decrease from 48.8 percent before.

The desire to move stayed largely the same across employer types between 2015 and 2017 with a few small changes. Fewer EPs employed by independent EP groups said they had no intention to move at 25.2 percent in our 2017 survey compared with 35.3 percent in 2015, and more of them were considering moving within one year at 23 percent compared with 20 percent before. Similarly, only 0.7 percent of locum tenens EPs planned to stay where they were when 1.7 percent of them said so in 2015, and 5.4 percent of them planned to move within one year, up from 1.3 percent in our last survey. More contract management and hospital employees, however, said they were staying put at 31.3 percent (22.7% in 2015) and at 42.9 percent (40.3%), respectively.

This concludes our coverage of the 2017 EMN salary survey. You can find past salary survey articles with additional tables in the Emergency Medicine News Salary Survey blog at

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