By Brian Casey, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

June 8, 2017 -- For the first time in a decade, radiologists have landed back in the top 10 of search assignments for U.S. physicians by recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins, as employment conditions in the specialty continue to improve.

Merritt Hawkins noted that radiologists had been absent from its top 10 list since 2007. The specialty's return is due to an increase in diagnostic imaging procedures, a more limited pool of candidates, and the proliferation of teleradiology services.

The firm said it received 80 requests for radiologist searches in 2016/2017, up 100% from 40 in 2015/2016. The growth was enough to land radiology in the tenth spot on the list, which was topped by family medicine physicians, psychiatrists, and internal medicine doctors.

Growth in recruiting searches for radiologists
  2016/2017 2015/2016 2014/2015 2013/2014 2012/2013
Searches for radiologists 80 40 24 22 35

The firm also reported an average salary for radiologists of $436,000 in the 2016/2017 period.

The company characterized radiology's resurgence as the continuance of a comeback. Demand for radiologists had diminished starting in 2003, when the specialty topped Merritt's list of most requested search assignments. Contributing to the decline was a "robust" supply of residents entering the job market, reimbursement cuts, and utilization suppression.

But renewed demand for radiologists is "inevitable," according to the report, "because imaging remains central to diagnostic and procedural work in today's healthcare system, in which very little transpires without an image." Also, due to an improving economy and an aging population, "demand for radiologists was going to rise at some point." What's more, close to 50% of radiologists are older than 55, "and attrition is beginning to reduce the candidate pool."

Teleradiology has affected the field, but Merritt noted that demand is at the level where clients are seeking both traditional onsite radiologists as well as teleradiologists.

The report can be accessed by clicking here.


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