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Domestic Job Shortage or Job Maldistribution? A Geographic Analysis of the Current Radiation Oncology Job Market

      Purpose

      To examine whether permanent radiation oncologist (RO) employment opportunities vary based on geography.

      Methods and Materials

      A database of full-time RO jobs was created by use of American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Career Center website posts between March 28, 2016, and March 31, 2017. Jobs were first classified by region based on US Census Bureau data. Jobs were further categorized as academic or nonacademic depending on the employer. The prevalence of job openings per 10 million population was calculated to account for regional population differences. The χ2 test was implemented to compare position type across regions. The number and locations of graduating RO during our study period was calculated using National Resident Matching Program data. The χ2 goodness-of-fit test was then used to compare a set of observed proportions of jobs with a corresponding set of hypothesized proportions of jobs based on the proportions of graduates per region.

      Results

      A total of 211 unique jobs were recorded. The highest and lowest percentages of jobs were seen in the South (31.8%) and Northeast (18.5%), respectively. Of the total jobs, 82 (38.9%) were academic; the South had the highest percentage of overall academic jobs (35.4%), while the West had the lowest (14.6%). Regionally, the Northeast had the highest percentage of academic jobs (56.4%), while the West had the lowest (26.7%). A statistically significant difference was noted between regional academic and nonacademic job availability (P=.021). After we accounted for unit population, the Midwest had the highest number of total jobs per 10 million (9.0) while the South had the lowest (5.9). A significant difference was also observed in the proportion of RO graduates versus actual jobs per region (P=.003), with a surplus of trainees seen in the Northeast.

      Conclusions

      This study presents a quantitative analysis of the RO job market. We found a disproportionately small number of opportunities compared with graduates trained in the Northeast, as well as a significant regional imbalance of academic versus nonacademic jobs. Long-term monitoring is required to confirm these results.
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