In medicine, salary offers are going up. The Merritt, Hawkins & Associates 2005 survey on recruitment trends showed steady increases for all of the top 15 recruited specialties in 2005. For example, the average income offered to recruit cardiologists rose from $292,000 in 20032004 to $320,000 in 20042005, whereas the average offer to orthopedic surgeons increased from $330,000 in 20032004 to $361,000 in 20042005.
In primary care, the average income offered to recruit internists rose from $148,000 in 20012002 to $152,000 in 20032004 and crept up to $161,000 in 20042005. For the same years, average income offers for family physicians increased from $144,000 to $146,000 to $150,000.
Geographically, salaries were often lower in the Northeast than in other regions. For internists, the average offering there was $155,000 but was $164,000 in all other regions of the country. This trend also was seen in psychiatry, neurosurgery, general surgery, and cardiology. Salary offers for family physicians were slightly higher in the Southeast and Midwest ($151,000-$152,000) than in the Northeast and West, where income offers were $144,000$145,000.
There are several reasons for the disparity, Mr. Miller said. "There's a higher rate of physicians per population [in the West and Northeast], so in general, production goals based on volume of patients seen are harder to reach. Also, managed care is minimal in many places in the high-earning states, such as Texas, where HMOs like Kaiser tried but failed to catch on, and where the old fee-for-service model still lives."