Many physicians say they're willing to take pay cuts to achieve these goals
Heavy workloads and a desire for greater professional autonomy are causing many physicians to rethink their career plans, with some willing to take a pay cut or retire earlier than planned to achieve those goals.
Those are among the findings of a recent survey on issues relating to compensation and careers by the physician networking firm Doximity. Asked if they’d be willing to accept lower compensation to achieve more autonomy or work-life balance, 35% said they had already done so, and 36% said they would consider it.
Survey results include responses from more than 190,000 U.S. doctors over six years, including responses from over 31,000 full-time U.S. physicians in 2022.
In answer to the question, “how has your clinical workload altered your career plans?” about 36% said overwork has led them to consider early retirement, while 31% said it has caused them to look either for another career or another employer.
Women have felt the effects of overwork the most, with 73% saying it has led ten to consider early retirement or look for a different career or employer, versus 63% of male physicians. Conversely, 17% of men reported not feeling overworked compared with just 8% of women respondents.
The survey showed the gender pay gap narrowing slightly, with men making an average of 26% more than women in 2022, compared to 28% in 2021. In dollar terms that translated into about $110,000 less for women in 2022, even when salaries were controlled for specialty, location and years of experience.
Asked how economic factors such as inflation and the pending 2% cut in Medicare reimbursements could affect them, 33% said they plan to pursue a side gig and 26% said they would pursue a higher salary, either with their current employer or by finding a different job. Fourteen percent said they would increase their patient caseload and/or work hours, and 27% anticipated not making any changes.
In addition to career and quality-of-life questions, the study looked at compensation issues related to specialty and location. Among its findings: