April 17, 2024

New physician compensation report reveals modest pay gains but growing discontent with the profession

Editor's Note

An April 2024 Physician Compensation Report from Medscape shows that 2023 was “another year of steady pay gains for US physicians,” Medscape April 12 reports. However, physicians are not content with their “take-home pay,” still seeing their profession as being underpaid.

Some takeaways from the report include:

  • On average, physicians’ total compensation grew by 3% in 2023 in the US
  • Physician compensation fell under the approximate 4% average increase for nonunionized US employees in 2023
  • Physicians in specialized areas saw a 44% increase in compensation on average, compared to 42% for primary care physicians
  • Six medical specialties—including orthopedic surgery, the highest-paid specialty—saw a drop in compensation, notes an ASC Review April 12 article on this report
  • Decline of compensation gaps between men and women among certain racial and ethnic groups was “uneven” in 2023
  • Many physicians questioned whether their salaries were enough to “justify their stress and sacrifices.”

According to another ASC Review April 12 article citing the Medscape report, many US physicians earn approximately $400,000 annually. However, “over a third are taking on side gigs to supplement their income.” Of note:

  • 20% of physicians surveyed for the report said they take on other medical-related work
  • 11% take on “medical moonlighting gigs”
  • 7% take on more hours at their primary job
  • 6% take on work that is not medical-related.

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