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Med Educ. 2003 Apr;37(4):319-27.

Critical factors in career decision making for women medical graduates.

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University of Auckland, New Zealand.



Within the next 30 years there will be equal numbers of women and men in the medical workforce. Indications are that women are increasing their participation in specialties other than general practice, although at a slower rate than their participation in the workforce as a whole. To inform those involved in training and employment of medical women, this study investigated the influencing factors in career decision making for female medical graduates.


A total of 305 women medical graduates from the University of Auckland responded to a mail survey (73% response rate) which examined influences on decision making, in both qualitative and quantitative ways, as part of a larger survey.


Most women were satisfied with their careers. The principal component analysis of the influencing factors identified four distinct factors important in career choice - interest, flexibility, women friendliness and job security, although the first two of these were rated more highly than the others.


Barriers to full participation by medical women in training and employment need to be systematically examined and removed. This is not only to allow women themselves to reach their full potential, but for workforce and socio-economic reasons. Initiatives that allow and value more flexible training and work practices, particularly through the years of child raising, are necessary for women and the health care workforce at large.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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