How to attract the right GP. Top 3 compensation lures for GPs besides salary

GP practices and recruiters looking to offer desirable compensation packages for GPs could look beyond salary to tempt suitable candidates, an Australian Doctor survey1 has found.

The survey asked more than 500 GPs how happy they were with their current compensation package, and what types of compensation they valued most.

Many GPs were comfortable with their lot – only 25% said they were either completely or somewhat dissatisfied with their current package, while 46% were satisfied with their current compensation and 28% were neutral. There was little difference between gender, age, or practice type.

Salary was the key consideration for 90% of GPs aged 25–34, who wanted money “upfront”.  However, the survey found that, while salary or billing percentage were the top priorities for more than 78% of all the GPs surveyed, other factors were also important.


Here are the top 3 compensation offers beyond salary that would attract GPs to a practice.

1. Unpaid leave

Nearly half of those surveyed said the ability to take unpaid leave would attract them to a new role, while nearly a third said additional paid holiday leave was an attractive proposition.

Unpaid leave was particularly important for nearly 48% of female GPs, compared with 37% of male GPs.

Additional paid parental leave was another drawcard for 29% of female GPs aged 25–34; however, overall, 11% only of GPs surveyed said this was a top priority for them.


2. Minimum hourly guarantee or fixed daily rates

More than 43% of those surveyed cited a guaranteed rate or a fixed daily rate as their key compensation consideration.

One rural GP registrar in NSW said: “I feel remuneration for doctors-in-training and GPs in general is far below its value, considering the study, sacrifices and training it takes to do a good job. Our salary is comparable to many other industries where the demands and responsibilities of the job and the career path are far less.”

A minimum guarantee was particularly important for GPs in corporate practices – more than 47% of them said this was critical, compared to 41% of GPs in independent practices.

One Queensland GP wryly observed: “38% goes to clinic, and then 47% goes to tax – what’s left is mine.”


3. Paid training

One Brisbane-based locum commented: “Most GPs are not employees, so we don’t get sick leave, holiday pay, or super.”

 In such cases, one drawcard could be paid training or a subsidy for educational activities. This was cited by 36% of those surveyed as a desirable element of any compensation package.

Female GPs, in particular, were drawn to the idea of paid training opportunities, with nearly 41% saying this was important to them, compared to 27% of male GPs.

There were also some notable differences between city and rural practices, with 50% of rural GPs citing paid training as a key component of any compensation package, compared with only 31% in capital cities.


Key questions for recruiters

By offering attractive packages beyond salary, recruiters and practice owners may attract the candidates they need. Here are some key questions to consider when advertising a position in a practice.

  • What else can the practice offer besides a base salary?
  • Can the practice offer flexible arrangements, such as unpaid leave, or additional parental leave?
  • Could a guaranteed rate of pay, or a fixed daily rate attract more candidates than a base salary figure?
  • Is the practice in a rural area, where paid training or educational opportunities could be a drawcard?

Reference: 1. Annual Australian Doctor & AusDoc.JOBS Job Seeker Study, Feb–April 2021.

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