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Study From MGMA and Jackson Physician Search Reveals New Insights for More Effective Recruitment and Retention of Early-Career Physicians

Jackson Physician Search
October 23, 2023

ATLANTA (October 23, 2023) — New research results announced today from Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) and Jackson Physician Search, a leading firm in physician recruitment, confirm that physicians who completed residency or fellowship in the past six years spent less than two years on average in their first jobs before leaving, compared to practicing physicians of all ages who spent an average of six years at their first jobs. The same study revealed that, while physicians-in-training rated compensation (50%) as their most important need in a first position, the driving motivator to leave that first job was practice ownership/governance (35%), indicating a substantial shift in priorities.

The new report – “Early-Career Physician Recruiting Playbook – reflects feedback from physicians and administrators across the nation who took part in the 2023 Early-Career Physician Recruitment and Retention Survey commissioned by MGMA and Jackson Physician Search in August/September 2023. The survey sought medical group administrators’ and physicians’ unique views on the top factors influencing residents and fellows to accept and remain longer in their first jobs to inform better physician recruitment and retention strategies.

“This new research comes at a critical time, offering clear guidance on what is needed to recruit and retain early-career physicians to mitigate the effects of persistent staffing shortages that are compounded by the aging workforce,” said Tony Stajduhar, president of Jackson Physician Search. “Considering the time required for new physicians to reach full productivity is between one and two years, medical groups face potential financial losses when physicians leave at or before the two-year mark.”

Key takeaways revealed in the Early-Career Physician Recruiting Playbook” include:

New physician job search sentiments:

  • The top factors new physicians are looking for in their first job post-residency/fellowship include: higher compensation (50%), geographic preference (37%), proximity to family (28%), career track/advancement (24%), and ability to work part-time or flexible hours (22%).
  • The shift in priorities for physicians becomes apparent when looking at the reasons physicians leave their first jobs. The initial focus on compensation may cause them to overlook the impact the practice ownership model may have on job satisfaction. The top factors physicians cited for leaving their first jobs were practice ownership/governance models (35%), followed by a tie between compensation (30%), geographic preference (30%), and career track/advancement opportunities (30%).

Practice administrators’ perceptions of effective recruitment and retention drivers illuminate a disconnect:

  • Organizational reputation (51%) and practice ownership/governance model (38%) were ranked as the top two factors that administrators view as important to physicians joining their organizations, while physicians rank these factors much lower, at 11% and 13%, respectively.

“Medical practices are already navigating a period of painful, inflation-bloated expenses and rising compensation for all levels of staff. With the costs of replacing a physician in a competitive market for clinician talent being as high as they have been in years, understanding the factors that influence retention merit equal consideration to those that influence signing a new physician,” explained Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, MMM, FAAP, FACMPE, president and CEO of MGMA. “To solve the ongoing staffing crisis, leaders must understand early-career physicians’ present and evolving needs, and meet them where they are in their career journey or risk losing them to a competitor.”

Additional insights found in the playbook include 15 elements of early-career physician recruitment that can help healthcare organizations both attract these highly sought-after physicians and retain them. To download theEarly-Career Physician Recruiting Playbook report, click here.

About Jackson Physician Search

Jackson Physician Search is an established industry leader in physician recruitment and pioneered the recruitment methodologies standard in the industry today. The firm specializes in the permanent recruitment of physicians, physician leaders and advanced practice providers for hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers and medical groups across the United States. Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., the company is recognized for its track record of results built on client trust and transparency of processes and fees. Jackson Physician Search is part of the Jackson Healthcare® family of companies. For more information, visit

About MGMA

Founded in 1926, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is the nation’s largest association focused on the business of medical practice management. MGMA consists of 15,000 group medical practices ranging from small private medical practices to large national health systems representing more than 350,000 physicians. MGMA helps nearly 60,000 medical practice leaders and the healthcare community solve the business challenges of running practices so that they can focus on providing outstanding patient care. Specifically, MGMA helps its members innovate and improve profitability and financial sustainability, and it provides the gold standard on industry benchmarks such as physician compensation. The association also advocates extensively on its members’ behalf on national regulatory and policy issues. To learn more, go to or follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

For More Information, Contact:

Kristen Myers

Associate Vice President, Marketing

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