The Wall Street Journal recently reported that hospitals and practices using a big recruiter to hire new doctors are making more frequent use of signing bonuses. For the year ended March 31, 85% of searches offered a signing bonus, which averaged $24,850. That's up from 46% of the searches in 2004/05, when the average bonus was $14,030. The data come from the latest report from Merritt Hawkins & Associates, and reflect more than 3,000 physician searches in 47 states.
The report also included some income guarantee/base salary averages from the searches. Here are the figures for the top five most commonly recruited specialties (they don't include benefits or productivity bonuses):
Family practice: $173,000
Family practice with obstetrics: $184,000
Internal medicine: $186,000
General surgery: $321,000