April 2011
Volume 52, Issue 14
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2011
The Impact of the Great Recession on the Job Market for Retina Specialists
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Abumere Akinwale
    Department of Ophthalmology, Boston University Medical Center, Quincy, Massachusetts
  • Chukwuemeka Nwanze
    Department of Ophthalmology, Boston University Medical Center, Quincy, Massachusetts
  • Ron A. Adelman
    Ophthal & Visual Science, Yale Univ Sch of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2011, Vol.52, 5545. doi:
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      Abumere Akinwale, Chukwuemeka Nwanze, Ron A. Adelman; The Impact of the Great Recession on the Job Market for Retina Specialists. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011;52(14):5545.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : To investigate the current state of the retina job market as well as evaluate the impact of the Great Recession of 2007-2009 on the job market for retina specialists.

Methods: : The demand for retina specialists was modeled by developing a help-wanted index (HWI) for retina specialists advertisements occurring in 3 major ophthalmology magazines; American Journal of Ophthalmology, Ophthalmology and Archives of ophthalmology from January 1980 to November 2010. A supplementary source of demand, an electronic help-wanted index (e-HWI) was developed from Professional Choices (The online physician recruitment site of the American Academy of Ophthalmology) where electronic advertisements from 1999-2010 were obtained. To assess the supply of retina specialists, data from the San Francisco Matching program regarding retina fellows was analyzed. Retina specialist compensation data was obtained from the Medical Group Management Association’s Physician Compensation and Production Survey series.

Results: : The HWI showed a 63% decrease in the annual number of advertisements for retina specialists (132 to 60 jobs/year, p=3.75 x 10-6). Similarly, the e-HWI showed a statistically significant, albeit smaller, decline in the annual number of advertisements for retina specialists, (216 to 153 jobs/year, p=0.03327). Despite this decline in advertised jobs available, the San Francisco Matching data shows that there has been a steady increase in the number of retina fellowship positions in the decade of 2000 to 2010 with an average of 4 per year (p=8.95 x 10-6). Projecting forward, by 2013 approximately 40 more retina specialists would enter the job market per year than did in 2003. The influx of retina specialists into the job market appears to have dampened demand. A significant reduction in the HWI may be attributable to the increase in retina fellows (p=0.01733) and/or the Great Recession. Furthermore, the mean salaries of retina specialists, which has decreased, appears to be related to their demand as captured by the HWI (p=0.0418).

Conclusions: : According to economists, the Great Recession ended in June 2009; however the demand for retina specialists continues to be low. This decrease is attributable to both the poor economy as well as the increased number of retina specialists. It is likely that compensation for retina specialists will decrease, given the current climate.

Keywords: clinical (human) or epidemiologic studies: health care delivery/economics/manpower 

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