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| 1 minute read

Annual benchmark report on health care recruiting shows high demand for NPs and radiologists

The national healthcare search and consulting firm, Merritt Hawkins, which specializes in the recruitment of physicians and advanced practice professionals (APPs) released its 2021 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives. The report offers a fascinating portrait of the demand for physicians and APPs across the country. There is some notable information about the demand for radiologists and their compensation. 

While nurse practitioners (NPs) topped Merritt Hawkins’ list of most requested search engagements for the first time, the demand for radiologists is very high, ranking number three on Merritt Hawkins' list. Perhaps because of the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the starting salaries for radiologists dipped slightly in the past year.

Significantly, Merritt Hawkins revealed that in their 34 years of service to the healthcare industry, the demand for physicians steadily increased as physician shortages have grown more pervasive. But COVID-19 interrupted this longstanding dynamic, suppressing utilization of healthcare services and reducing overall demand for physicians. As a result, the number of search engagements Merritt Hawkins conducted during the 2021 Review period decreased by 25% over the prior year.

Nevertheless, the demand for the recruitment of radiologists remains high, with such demand - the 2021 Review speculates - resulting from the volume growth in imaging services. "Whether it is a diagnosis or a procedure, little happens in healthcare without an image. Radiology ranked third among Merritt Hawkins’ search engagements during the 2021 Review period, up one spot from the previous year, signaling continued utilization of both inpatient and outpatient imaging tests and procedures."

Merritt Hawkins ranks their actual number of search assignments/job openings as a percent of all active physicians in a given specialty or by what Merritt Hawkins calls “absolute demand." In terms of “absolute demand,” the demand for the recruitment of radiologists ranked number two, just behind hematologists/oncologists, during the 2021 Review period.

Particularly interesting data in the Review are the average dollar amounts of salaries for radiologists and other physicians by region and the average dollar amount of their signing bonuses. 

The majority of Merritt Hawkins’ search engagements (64%) were for physician specialists, including radiologists, psychiatrists, gastroenterologists and others, highlighting the robust demand for specialty physicians.


health care & life sciences, diagnostic radiology, physician recruitment, compensation