Baby Boomers are Changing How Physicians Practice

September 3rd, 2013 2 Min read Baby Boomers are Changing How Physicians Practice Blog
"Is the World Going Part-Time?" That's the question a Staffing Industry Analysts (SIA) writer asked in response to the July U.S. jobs report, which revealed a modest gain of just 162,000 jobs, the smallest since March. As the writer pointed out, most of the job growth came in lower-paying industries or part-time work. This pattern,which we've seen for several months now, may represent a trend in employers shifting to part-time positions in attempt to work around the healthcare benefit requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The Bureau of Labor Statistics household survey data indicates that 77 percent of the jobs created year-to-date are part-time.

"With respect to the last few months, this part-time spike could indeed be due to volatility, but that still doesn't explain the longer-term pattern," wrote Subadhra Sriram, editorial director of SIA. "The percent of U.S. population currently working full-time is the lowest it has been since 1983, a low that was touched only briefly in that year but which now has been sustained for roughly two to three years. Even being careful with the numbers, it would seem that something odd is happening."

Could it be that some kind of labor shift is going on in favor of part-time work? And if so, what or who may be driving this trend? It's entirely possible that leading the way is none other than baby boomers. As this generation of trailblazers moves into their golden years, they are, once again, changing the rules of the game -- and the practicing physicians among them are no exception. Reinventing Retirement A CompHealth survey of 1,000 U.S. physicians reveals that a majority of respondents, who are either at retirement age or nearing it, aren't following the traditional career paths of their predecessors. Instead, these physicians want to continue to work after reaching retirement age.
  • When asked what they plan to do when they retire, 68 percent of physicians ages 50 and over said they plan to work part-time after retirement age
  • 24 percent said they plan to work part-time at their current place of employment, either a hospital or private practice
  • Another 24 percent said they would consider contract work
  • 21 percent said they plan to work as locum tenens
The study also shows that a majority of physicians who currently work in a private practice have no intention of closing shop once they reach retirement age.
  • 58 percent of practice owners ages 50 and above say they will not close their practice, compared to 42 percent who say they will
  • 14 percent plan to volunteer in a related field
  • Only 13 percent said they plan to stop practicing medicine altogether
Evidently, these seasoned physicians have no desire to trade in their stethoscopes for shuffleboard paddles any time soon, which is a good thing considering the current doctor shortage. We could all benefit from having more doctors in the workforce, and particularly from this group's vast knowledge and experience. To their benefit, the range of employment options has never been larger. Semi-retired physicians can find work in a variety of practice settings, either as part-time employees or as locum tenens. Just look at this list of locum tenens jobs in more than 70 physician specialties that are waiting to be filled.