As a dentist, employment options can be endless. From locum to part- and full-time contracts, to deciding between private, mixed or NHS, to choosing a role in general dentistry or as a specialist and making the decision to work in a corporate or independent practice, finding the right combination can be strenuous to say the least! Consequently, one can never be too cautious when considering the advantages and disadvantages of each option, particularly when it comes to deciding between working for a corporate or group and a free-standing, independent practice.
Corporate versus Independent
The corporate model, for instance, offers a large support network with a defined, hierarchical management structure, which is suitable for clinicians looking for clinical guidance and less administrative responsibilities. However, some corporates offer less choice over materials and laboratories that can be used, which is not suited to everyone’s tastes.
Another common deciding factor of choosing a contract is location, location, location! Corporates have an extensive, nationwide network that extends to small, medium and large towns and big, flagship cities, which can be extremely advantageous to those who prioritise geographical placement of the practice over the business model. Plus, because there can be a large number of practices available within a corporate or group – although it does vary from one to the other – a vacancy is typically always available. Thus, if location is no issue, and one’s skillset meets the criteria of the job role, it can be an infallible way of procuring a position. With additional opportunities of career progression within the company and the option of relocating to another practice if a position becomes available, a contract with a corporate can be an auspicious venture.
Finding an available role in an independent practice, on the other hand, can be more difficult, mostly because they require smaller teams and vacancy openings are less frequent. When they do become available, however, they are always worth exploring, particularly if you are a dentist that yearns to flourish and broaden your skill mix to include the delivery of specialist treatments.
Switching Business Models
Naturally, the basis of making a decision can be more complex than just personal preference; it also boils down to circumstance and the job market at the time. Consequently, dentists may find themselves in a position where they would like to make the move from corporate employment to working for – or becoming a partner of – an independent practice. In such cases, it would be prudent to take into consideration any possible barriers.
The main potential issue that can occur when moving from a corporate to an independent is that associates can sometimes be subject to a minimum of a four-month notice period, which prevents them from being able to move on. With such a contract it can be immensely difficult to find a job, not to mention stressful if one’s current role is unfulfilling.
For the most part, practices will tend to recruit when they have an urgent requirement, though of course there are opportunities, such as maternity cover, which sometimes advertise in advance. The rule of thumb, however, is that practices cannot typically wait four months for an employee to start, which inevitably means associates from corporates get overlooked.
Fortunately, the obstacle can easily be overcome, especially with the support of an experienced, specialist recruitment agency such as Dental Elite, although it would require handing in one’s notice without the security of a job offer. While it could be perceived as a risky move, particularly if one has financial responsibilities and a family to support, it provides a get-out for dentists that might otherwise be trapped by contractual obligations. For those looking to bite the bullet and hand in their resignation, it would be prudent to wait for at least four to eight weeks before searching and applying for a new role. By that point you will be in a strong position to find a new contract, with enough time to spare to negotiate salary and so on. Unless you are planning to take some time off in-between, it would be wise not to let it get to full-term of your notice period before looking for a job.
All in all, it is not only crucial that you consider your options at all stages of your career, but it is also of paramount importance that you remain aware of potential obstacles and solutions that can occur surrounding contracts when moving from a corporate to an independent. To find out more, seek the advice of a recruitment consultant today.