Rationale and Objectives
There has been attention on the job market recently and on radiology's supply/demand calculus. Supply is influenced by the number of trained radiologists, while demand is driven by demographics and technological innovation. We analyze the supply of radiologists historically and compare to other labor markets—medical and non-medical, domestic and foreign.
Materials and Methods
We review National Resident Matching Program data in radiology and several other specialties from 1991 to 2015. We also review surveys, physician recruitment data, and peer-reviewed commentaries on medical specialty job markets. Trends are compared across specialties. The regulation of American medical training is compared to that in the United Kingdom and to a nonmedical labor market, unionized theatrical stage employees.
Radiology residency positions have increased since 1998 despite a downturn in the job market. This expansion coincides with a decreasing percentage of positions filled by domestic graduates. A similar trend has been seen in pathology, a notoriously oversupplied specialty. Conversely, other specialties have maintained their proportion of domestic graduates by way of limited supply or implicit demand.
The radiology job market is currently oversupplied, primarily a result of increasing residency positions despite indicators of decreasing demand. The percentage of residency positions filled by domestic graduates has decreased during the same period, suggesting that medical student interest is responsive to the market. Other specialties, particularly pathology, demonstrate the dangers of chronic oversupply. We advocate a reduction of radiology residency positions such that supply closely approximates demand without exceeding it. Additional measures may be taken, if necessary, to restore market equilibrium in the event of a mild undersupply.
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Published online: November 13, 2015
Accepted: October 5, 2015
Received in revised form: October 5, 2015
Received: May 6, 2015
© 2015 The Association of University Radiologists. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.