Five Reasons Why Young Doctors Are Leaving the Country

in Overall Health by

Medicine is the noblest of professions an individual can pursue. Doctors undertake rigorous undergrad training to qualify. Training periods differ from country to country, ranging from 5 years in Pakistan to 7 years in the United States. After this time of training, doctors have a demanding schedule averaging 80 hour per week. Under these circumstances, physician’s professional expectations revolve around better recognition, salaries, and living standards.

Migration of young doctors is due to a variety of factors. For example, gaps in supply and demand in developed countries to a lack of job satisfaction in developing countries. Other factors include the influence of the media and the internet. This article provides an analysis of the reasons why young doctors migrate. Five major reasons determine why doctors migrate: employment, wages, professional development opportunities, and socioeconomic and political reasons.

1. Wages
Salary difference is perhaps the most significant cause of the flight of young doctors. In countries with huge wage gaps, it is a primary motivating factor. A survey of physicians migration in Colombia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines by Avraham Astor, a sociologist, found that 91% of participants ranked low salaries as a key factor. For example, a surgical technician in India earns almost $3.600 estimated in US dollars while the same professional in U.S. makes somewhere around $41k. While studying, medical students live on low income and the desire to enjoy a better standard of living reflects the emphasis on higher wages.

2. Professional Development Opportunities
For employed physicians, the ability to access professional development opportunities such as varied experience, research facilities, and superior training is a strong reason for leaving. Graduate doctors and those in mid-level positions migrate, as they will gain more from working outside the country. An important aspect of this migration is the need to “gain experience.” The knowledge and skills obtained overseas via higher education and job training is highly beneficial for career growth.

3. Networks
Social and professional networks play a significant role in influencing young doctors to migrate. For potential migrating doctors, these networks make the possibility a reality. According to Khadria, Indian physicians and nurses indicated that having friends overseas is a source of inspiration for migrating. 25% of the survey respondents suggest that having relatives in a host country influences their attitude towards relocating abroad. The role of social networks is evident among students from Sub-Saharan Africa. In Lesotho, 47% of students surveyed in the SAMP indicated that family members encouraged them to leave.

4. Political and Socioeconomic Conditions
The social, economic, and political conditions in a country may influence the flight of young doctors. Due to crime, violence, or the lack of personal safety, doctors may migrate to more politically stable countries. The SAMP survey established the prevalence of HIV/AIDs might influence a young physician’s decision to leave. According to the survey, in Uganda and Senegal, 85.3% and 70% respectively of physicians worry about HIV infection through work related accidents.

5. Employment
The employment of migrant doctors depends on their level of professional competence or career development. Graduates attach more significance to migrating in contrast to those who are already qualified. For instance, the SAMP overview of health students in southern Africa revealed that a desire to be in business or have job stability ranks second after higher wages. Undergraduates in Lesotho and Namibia ranked employment before wages.

Conversely, Khadria found that only 11% of return IT experts in Bangalore gave securing employment as a reason for migrating to another country. In the same 2002 study, medical attendants and doctors ranked work as the 6th and 7th most important factor for relocating abroad. Overall, talented young physicians, who are as of now working, say different components are more critical to them as reasons for migrating.

As the studies referred illustrate, talented people, leave due to various reasons. However, remuneration is the single most important factor. The worldwide economic recession insignificantly affected the desire to relocate. Though it drastically influences the decision young, and highly qualified doctors make. Drops in wages in nations of choice are moderate as contrasted to structural differences in wages that exist between countries.

A considerable population of young doctors expressed the inclination to migrate. These expectations are heightened by the perceived benefits, for example, lucrative compensation, quality training, and professional satisfaction. Other identified elements, for instance in Pakistan, include terrorism, harassment, or persecution of physicians. The bits of knowledge offered here will add to more nuanced and viable approaches. The opposition of substantial premiums – every nation’s requirement for a competent wellbeing workforce rather than every individual’s human ideal to travel, entangles ethics of the migration of young doctors from developing countries to rich ones.

Approaches to managing physician brain drain — in originating and destination countries— should assess which departures are of specific concern, the reasons for, and the benefits of leaving.

Nevertheless, policies targeting medical students can prove advantageous over the long run, as school is the prime venue for molding the perceptions and desires of future doctors. Late interventions receive lots of dissatisfaction and opposition. Along these lines, such techniques can fill in as the initial phase in the definition of general strategies in the future.

In summary, the reasons why young doctors are predicated on the following two elements that explain the interrelationship of the five reasons discussed above. Immigration theory posits that “push elements” entice young doctors to leave and settle in higher wage countries.

Negative conditions such as lacking reasonable business, low pay, inadequate working conditions, insufficient employment opportunities, lack of status and recognition, and oppressive governments. On the other hand, “pull elements” in wealthier nations deliberately draw in doctors. These include advanced education, higher standards of living, better practice conditions, and more advanced research facilities.

Astor, A., Akhtar, T., Matallana, M. A., Muthuswamy, V., Olowu, F. A., Tallo, V., & Lie, R. K. (2005). Physician migration: views from professionals in Colombia, Nigeria, India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Social science & medicine, 61(12), 2492-2500. Available Online. (
Crush, J. S. (Ed.). (2006). States of vulnerability: the future brain drain of talent to South Africa (No. 42). Inst for Democracy in South Africa. Available Online.(
Khadria, B. (2004). Migration of Highly Skilled Indians: Case Studies of IT and the Health Professionals. OECD Science, Technology, and Industry Working Papers, 2004/6. OECD Publishing (NJ1). Available Online. (