radRounds (NEW YORK) -- With talk of the stimulus package, banks going into bankruptcy, job losses daily, and jobmuch more doom and gloom in the headlines for our economy... made me wonder. Are we safe in healthcare? For that matter, is radiology safe? What does the downturn in the economy mean for radiology and radiologists?
For this article, I talked with residents, fellows, and attending level radiologists (in private and academic practices) and one thing is clear -- there is much more anxiety among radiologists about the job market and salaries. Academic practices are battening down the hatches and private practices are limiting hiring. Teleradiology practices are even tightening up their grip. The good news is that high demand skills are still desirable and recently minted radiology fellows will have no real difficulty in finding jobs in women's imaging (breast imaging), interventional radiology, and pediatric radiology even in desirable cities like San Francisco, New York, and Boston.
Despite the economy going through rough times, the government's healthcare reform efforts will likely hit radiology first and hit radiology hard.
My first observation is that despite difficult times, training in diagnostic radiology as a fellow and resident will leave you in good stead. Many practices and hospital based practices are still recruiting. They will likely have fewer jobs so you will find fewer job postings on standard job sites and also even via recruiters. The best bet for finding the top quality jobs would still be via network and alumni from your training program. Leverage your network in radiology. You will have your best bet via your personal and professional relationships.
My predictions for the upcoming (maybe even years):
- Declining salaries in both private practice, academic radiology, teleradiology
- Fewer medical students will go into radiology because of the rumors and signs from current residents/fellows who are having tough times getting a job (increase in applications to anesthesia, dermatology, and other "lifestyle" specialties)
- Increase in residents/fellows will return to academic-based career tracks
- Declining demand for musculoskeletal radiologists, neuroradiologists, body-imaging trained radiologists
- Increased demand for interventional radiologists and women's imaging-trained radiologists
- Pediatric radiologists will continue to be in high demand
- Emerging technologies such as PET, coronary artery CTA, cardiac MR, virtual colonoscopy, breast tomosynthesis, novel MRI techniques will drive demand for radiologists who command these skills
- Obama's health reform team and CMS will likely target high cost imaging services (technical component decrease while possibly maintaining professional component of reimbursement)
- Self-referral issues may quiet down due to increased regulation
- Use social and professional network sites like radRounds (excuse my obvious affiliation and bias, but we aim to be the best in radiology/radiologist networking), LinkedIN, and Sermo
- Talk to former classmates, fellows, residents, and whoever else you can think of!
- Know what you are looking for and get the necessary training or be open for unexpected opportunities
- Cold call practices in a tactful and professional manner - not the easiest strategy but it can work effectively
- Start your job search earlier than you would have planned
These challenging and stress times for radiology job searches require creativity, networking, and flexibility. I have no doubt that radiologists will persevere and survive these rough economic times. Among the brightest in the field of medicine, radiologists as physicians will always in high demand and I am confident will put their creative skills to good use.
Remember - When times are tough, networking is a survival skill.
by Jennifer Larson
radRounds Staff Radiology Writer