The Role of the Generational Divide in Physician Recruitment & Retention

There are many factors that influence why a physician chooses to look for a new opportunity or stay in their current position. Whether it be a life change, a career opportunity, or a desire to be close to family and friends, the reasons physicians choose to stay or go are varied. While each individual physician has unique motivating factors, key generational differences can help recruitment and retention professionals understand and delight the physicians they seek to employ and keep on board. 


The Silent Generation


While this age group of physicians are retired, at least 10% are still actively practicing, with many in key leadership positions. This generation of physicians saw medicine as more than just their job – it was their calling. Often putting in several more hours in the office and on call than later generations, this generation of physicians were high producers who had a strong sense of loyalty to their organizations.


Some key physician recruitment & retention take aways:


  • Strong sense of loyalty means they tend to stay with the same organization
  • Difficulty with technology and EMR means they could benefit from additional training in the new technologies
  • Their excellent work ethic means that even as they age, they will continue to add immense value to your organization


Baby Boomers


The Baby Boomer generation is full of career oriented physicians with an intense desire for advancement. Drawing much of their sense of fulfillment from their work, many individuals of this generation often sacrificed time with their families to advance their careers and are not as interested in work-life balance as their younger counterparts. 


Some key physician recruitment & retention take aways:

  • Offer clear career paths and advancement opportunities to attract and retain talent
  • Offer training, mentorship, and project lead opportunities to continue to engage them at the workplace
  • Competitive retirement & compensation packages are key for aging boomers as they look to wind down and retire in the not too distant future


Generation X


Many individuals in Generation X grew up with career driven, baby boomer parents. After seeing how their parents placed so much value on their careers, Generation X physicians have a strong desire to have an excellent work-life balance and the opportunity to seek fulfillment through personal relationships. Additionally, Generation X physicians place a strong emphasis on constantly honing their skills and investing in their professional development.

Some key physician recruitment & retention take aways:

  • Offer flex-time, family friendly schedules, and excellent vacation packages that are aligned with a good work-life balance
  • Provide opportunities for constant learning and professional development 
  • Develop a collegial, collaborative work environment to appeal to this generation’s team-oriented views
  • Provide clear tracks for career advancement and leadership opportunities





Physicians of the Millenial Generation quite literally grew up with technology at their fingertips. The majority of physicians of this generation have either recently completed their training or are in the process of finishing their medical education. As such, many of these physicians have only ever worked with EMR’s. These physicians, like those in Generation X, also highly value work-life balance and a team-oriented environment.


Some key physician recruitment & retention take aways:

  • Make sure that you have fully integrated EMR – and advertise it! Emphasize any technology that your organization uses to streamline processes.
  • Provide opportunities that are part-time, part-time to full-time, have flex time, or a combination of schedules that allow physicians to establish a work-life balance
  • Offer ample vacation time for physicians to recharge and pursue passion projects
  • Loan forgiveness/reimbursement programs are key to recruiting this physician as they have a very high student loan burden
  • Create a team oriented and collegial environment where these physicians can feel heard


When it comes to recruiting and retaining the best physicians for your team, it is important that you make sure to tailor your message and strategy to the type of physicians you are looking to attract and retain long term. By creating tailored strategies and creating an environment conducive to workplace satisfaction, your organization can recruit and retain the right doctors  for your team.