3 key takeaways from the 2017 ACR Commission on Human Resources Workforce survey

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The American College of Radiology (ACR) has been releasing its annual ACR Human Resources Commission survey since 2012, asking practice leaders about the demographics of their employees and then analyzing that data. More than 475 practice leaders, representing more than 11,000 radiologists, responded to this year’s survey. Edward I. Bluth, MD, department of radiology for the Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans, and colleagues wrote about the results in the Journal of the American College of Radiology. These are three key takeaways from the team’s analysis:

1. Gender distribution remains the same

The survey revealed that 21.5 percent of actively practicing radiologists are female, a slight increase from 21.4 percent in the 2016 survey. “A general trend is toward larger numbers of women in younger age groups compared with women older than 56 years,” the authors wrote. “The difference between the 2016 and 2017 surveys regarding all age distribution by gender is not significant.”

Meanwhile, 13 percent of practice leaders—considered to be “managing partner, chair, vice chair or executive committee member, etc.”—are women. Of all female radiologists, 8 percent are in a leadership position.

2. Part-time, full-time and, yes, retired radiologists are all working together

Data shows that 76 percent of practices have part-time radiologists on board. “An increasing number of radiologists are now working part-time, and this has implications relative to maintaining an adequate workforce to provide adequate patient access,” the authors wrote. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is making the switch quite yet; according to the data, 84 percent of radiologists are still working on a full-time basis in 2017.

Retirement also plays a significant role in shaping the radiology workforce. Twenty-five percent of practice leaders said one of their radiologists had retired in 2017, down from 29 percent in 2016. In addition, 24 percent of leaders said they have a retired radiologist still employed at their practice “in some capacity.”

3. Good news, radiologists! Hiring should be up this year

Using numbers from previous surveys, the ACR Commission on Human Resources had predicted that 1,6017 to 2,099 radiologists would be hired in 2016. The final number? 1,569 to 2,037 radiologists were hired, quite close to the prediction.

Using this year’s survey responses, the commission is predicting at even bigger number than last year. “The results indicate that 1,826 to 2,370 jobs will be available,” the authors wrote. “The largest percentage of hires will be subspecialists in neuroradiology at 13 percent, general interventionists at 12 percent, after-hours radiologists at 12 percent, body imagers at 11 percent and breast imagers at 10 percent.”

Of course, Bluth et al. also point out that today’s good fortune could have side effects in the near future. “The 2017 ACR Workforce Survey indicates significant improvement in the opportunities for radiologists seeking jobs in 2017 compared with previous years,” they wrote. “This improved outlook could be a harbinger of a possible shortage of adequately trained radiologists in the future.”