NAPR Physician Recruitment Industry Trends Survey

Source: Tammy Jamison is the director of physician and executive recruiting for Lehigh Valley Health Network and a past president of the NAPR Board. She can be reached at or (610) 969-0211.

Have you ever wondered how many physicians recruiters typically recruit in a year? Do you think there’s a big difference in the numbers between in-house recruiters, contingency firm recruiters, and retained firm recruiters? Since we all know about the physician shortage, are you curious about which sources recruiters are finding to be the most effective in attracting physician candidates? Well, you can find all those answers and more in the National Association of Physician Recruiters (NAPR) 2010 Physician Recruitment Industry Trends Survey.

While it has been a few years since NAPR last conducted an industry trends survey, the association recently completed a 2010 survey, with plans already underway to start work on 2011 update and a goal of annual updates thereafter. This survey is meant for all physician recruiters whether they work within retained or contingency search firms or within a hospital, health network, or medical group. The survey identifies and reports on significant trends affecting the physician recruiting industry. In 2010, nearly 1,000 organizations were invited to participate, and NAPR received a response rate of 11 percent. Twenty-nine (29) percent of the responses represent the activities of in-house or facility-based recruiting departments, 42 percent represent the work of contingency firm recruiters, and 30 percent of responses were from recruiters with retained or hybrid firms. The data includes operational metrics, financial information, and the degree of effectiveness of procurement or sourcing efforts, as well as other information pertinent to recruiters and health care organizations.

One significant trend reported is on recruiter responsibilities. More and more physician recruiters are conducting searches for physician extenders such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Recruiters are also getting more involved in health care executive searches, particularly among the facility and retained recruiting groups. The median number of placements of physician candidates in 2009 varied among the recruiter groups, both in terms of the experience level of the recruiters and among the three models of recruiting teams: facility, contingency, and retained. Placements numbers ranged from a low of 1 from contingency recruiters with less than 1 year of experience to a high of 10 from contingency and retained recruiters with over 4 years of experience. Recruiters who were benchmarked in the 75th percentile in placements had 22 (facility), 16 (contingency) and 12 (retained) physician placements. Interestingly, the highest number of placements in all recruiting team models came from practicing physicians, dispelling the common thought that the economy and the housing market were negatively impacting movement among practicing physicians.

Recruiters were asked to report on what percentages of their budgets were spent on various sourcing efforts and on how effective those sourcing efforts were. The highest percentage of total recruitment budgets among search firm recruiters was allocated to job boards, with the lowest percentage allocated to social networking sites. Contingency and retained recruiters got the highest percentage of placements from job boards, while facility recruiters sourced a high percentage of candidates from job boards, but a slightly higher percentage from search firms and other sources.

There was a broad range of revenue reported among contingency and retained recruiters with the greatest amount of revenue coming from actual placements, followed by progressives/retainers/interviews and then reimbursed out-of-pocket expenses. Among contingency recruiters, those in the 25th percentile had revenue of $105,000 and those in the 75th percentile had revenue of $800,000. Similarly, retained recruiters in the 25th percentile in revenue booked $68,000, while those in the 75th percentile invoiced $630,000 in charges. The majority of recruiters in all three categories are compensated through a base salary and commission.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to benefits, a higher percentage of facility-based recruiters receive a full complement of benefits than their counterparts at search firms. However, the majority of recruiters in all sectors receive health insurance that is funded by the organization, as well as paid time off. Most recruiters are not able to participate in profit-sharing arrangements, but of those that do the majority are working for retrained or hybrid firms.

As we all know, the past couple of years have been very difficult from an economic standpoint, which has had a deleterious affect on employment both in terms of hiring and layoffs. The physician recruiting industry hasnt been immune to those dynamics, despite the fact that the health care sector has remained somewhat strong during the financial melt-down. The hardest hit recruiting group has been the retained or hybrid firms that reported a 34 percent turnover rate in recruiters, a 76 percent turnover rate in sourcers, and a 64 percent turnover rate in marketers.

Other statistics that can be accessed in this survey include the most common ways recruiting departments or firms are niched, how placements are invoiced, and whether or not placement guarantees are offered and the terms of those guarantees.

Since NAPR is already working on a 2011 Industry Trends Survey based on 2010 data, recruiting firms and departments will have comparative data to use. Those that participate in the upcoming survey will receive the results at no cost. Benchmarking continues to be an important tool for gauging how well your company or department is doing compared to others across the country. Can you afford not to know how you compare?