I am sure you, too, are probably sick of hearing this question. With all of the talk in the media about jobs, or the lack thereof, one might assume that dentists are in the same boat. Generally speaking, this is not the case. What the media fails to report is that, even though the overall unemployment rate is at a very high level in the upper 9% range, the fact of the matter is that among those with a college education, the unemployment rate is actually in the 4% range. Additionally, according to government estimates, there will be a shortage of 14 million college educated workers over the next 10 years.

Here at ETS Dental, we see this reality as we are contacted regularly by dental practices who cannot find an associate. The problem practices are experiencing is due to the fact that dentists, as a group, are at full employment. It is also a fact that over the next 10 years, there will be more dentists retiring than will be coming out of dental school, which will further exacerbate the problem.

Another job inequity in the dental industry is that the distribution of dentists is not equal on a per capita basis. Many practices that approach us for help finding an associate are located in outlying areas which are considered “underserved” because doctors tend to prefer working in a metropolitan area. This had let to a saturation of dentists in the big cities.

That said, there certainly are dentists who are feeling the negative effects of the economic downturn, and they are even more pronounced with some of the dental specialties. Over the last couple of years, Orthodontists have experienced the most difficult times in memory as the treatment they provide is something that can be viewed as “elective” or postponable by people during a tough economy. Another specialty that has taken a hit has been Endodontics as more general dentists have been keeping more of this “in house”.

Where are the jobs? For dentists they are out there. They just might not be where you are looking, but they are there.

My advice to practice owners would be to do your due diligence on associate hires, but do not drag your feet. There are a lot of other practices who are looking, and the unemployment numbers you are hearing from the media are not reflective of the employment of dentists.

My advice to dentists looking for a new opportunity is to expand your parameters and consider areas 45 minutes to an hour outside of the area that you feel you want to work. You may just find that there is a lot to be said for being a bigger fish in a smaller pond rather that a little fish in a big pond. The rewards can be much greater all the way around!

Written by Gary Harris, Dental Specialist Recruiter at ETS Dental. You can reach Gary directly at (540) 491-9115 or gharris@etsdental.com. Find out more at www.etsdental.com.

Other blogs you may be interested in