Association News

Merritt Hawkins Releases 2022 Physician Recruiting Incentives Review

For the last 29 years, Merritt Hawkins, a HASC Endorsed Business Partner, has published its Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives. Each report is based on real-world recruiting data derived from April 1 through March 31 of the following year. View or download 2022 Review highlights at left. HASC members can request the full report by emailing Ben Adams, Regional Vice President – West Region at Merritt Hawkins.

The 2022 Review is based on a representative sample of over 2,600 recruiting engagements. As in previous reviews, it tracks physician and advanced practice provider starting salaries, signing bonuses, relocation allowances and related incentives. Over the years, the review has provided benchmark data that many hospitals, medical groups and others use to determine if their recruiting packages are competitive.

According to the new report, orthopedic surgeons receive the highest average starting salary at $565,000 (exclusive of signing bonuses and other incentives), up from $546,000 the previous year. Average starting salaries for most other specialties also increased from last year. Urologists are offered an average of $510,000 to start, up from $497,000; gastroenterologists $474,000, up from $453,000; and radiologists $455,000, up from $401,000.

The data indicate that demand for physicians, and the salaries they are offered, have rebounded dramatically from COVID-19. Patient backlogs, an aging population and widespread chronic medical conditions have caused this surge in demand.

Need for Medical Specialists Increasing

The review also shows demand rising for specialists such as gastroenterologists, orthopedic surgeons, oncologists, pulmonologists, neurologists and psychiatrists, and declining for primary care physicians, such as family physicians and internists. Over the prior 12 months, 64% of Merritt Hawkins’ search engagements involved specialists, while only 17% were for primary care physicians. The remaining 19% involved advanced practice professionals such as nurse practitioners (NPs), physician assistants (PAs) and certified registered nurse anesthetists.

Two factors account for this shift. The first is an aging population that needs more specialists to care for ailing internal organs, musculoskeletal conditions and neurological challenges. The other factor is the growing use of NPs and PAs to provide primary care, often in “convenient care” settings such as urgent care centers, retail clinics and telemedicine.

The 2022 Review includes a wide range of additional data and analysis. HASC members can receive the full report by emailing Ben Adams. To learn more about Merritt Hawkins, please email Kurt Mosley, Vice President of Strategic Alliances with Merritt Hawkins and AMN Healthcare, or visit