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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999 Mar 15;43(5):1075-81.

The employment status of 1995 graduates from radiation oncology training programs in the United States.

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1
Department of Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To quantify the employment status of 1995 graduates of radiation oncology training programs in the United States.

METHODS AND MATERIALS:

All senior residents (149) and fellows (36) who completed training in 1995 were mailed an employment survey questionnaire by the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO). Telephone follow-up of nonrespondents achieved a 100% response rate. Twenty graduates who chose to continue training and five who returned to their home countries were removed from the study. Of the 160 who attempted to enter the U.S. workforce, 106 were men and 54 were women. Initial job status and job status at 6-8 months following graduation were determined.

RESULTS:

Unemployment was 6.9% at graduation and 4.4% at 6-8 months. Underemployment (part-time employment) was 10.6% at graduation and 11.9% at 6-8 months postgraduation. Of those working part-time 6-8 months after graduation, 63% (12 of 19) did so involuntarily after unsuccessfully seeking full-time employment. For the 20 graduates who chose to continue training with fellowships, seven (35%) did so solely to avoid unemployment, four (20%) were partially influenced by the job market, and nine (45%) were not influenced by the job market. Adverse employment search outcome was defined as being either unemployed as a radiation oncologist or involuntarily working part-time. Excluding those who chose to work part-time, a total of 19 (11.9%) graduates at 6-8 months following graduation, compared to 22 (13.8%) at graduation, were either unemployed or involuntarily working part-time. In terms of gender, this represented 18.5% (10 of 54) of females and 8.6% (9 of 105) of males. In terms of geographic restrictions in the job search, 56% of males and 70% of females with an adverse employment outcome limited their job search to certain parts of the country. This compares to 62% of all graduates in this study with geographic restrictions in their job search. In terms of perceptions of the workforce and employment opportunities, 95% of all graduates believed there was an oversupply of radiation oncologists and 95.5% believed the job market was worse than what they had anticipated on entering training. Only 42.8% of all graduates were satisfied with the job opportunities available to them. A significant number of private practice positions (41%) did not offer a partnership track, and those that did so had an increased median employment period before partnership (3.25 years) compared to previous years.

CONCLUSION:

This is the only employment survey for any specialty in which a 100% response rate was achieved. Upon graduation, a significant number of residents and fellows were either unemployed or involuntarily underemployed. The job market absorbed only a fraction of them at 6-8 months. Most graduates, including those employed full-time, were not satisfied with the practice opportunities available to them during their job search. Many private-sector jobs did not offer a partnership track, and those that did required an increased employment period. A higher rate of involuntary part-time employment was seen for female graduates. Geographic restrictions in job search alone could not account for graduates being unemployed or underemployed, and could not account for gender differences. An overwhelming majority of 1995 radiation oncology graduates believed that the job market had deteriorated and that there was an oversupply of radiation oncologists. As one of two major studies tracking the employment status of radiation oncology graduates, we believe this study to be superior in methodology. We also believe this study presents data in a manner useful to medical students, training program directors, and healthcare policymakers.

PMID:
10192359
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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