Demographic characteristics of doctors who intend to follow clinical academic careers: UK national questionnaire surveys

Postgrad Med J. 2014 Oct;90(1068):557-64. doi: 10.1136/postgradmedj-2014-132681. Epub 2014 Aug 18.


Objectives: It is well recognised that women are underrepresented in clinical academic posts. Our aim was to determine which of a number of characteristics-notably gender, but also ethnicity, possession of an intercalated degree, medical school attended, choice of specialty-were predictive of doctors' intentions to follow clinical academic careers.

Design: Questionnaires to all UK-trained medical graduates of 2005 sent in 2006 and again in 2010, graduates of 2009 in 2010 and graduates of 2012 in 2013.

Results: At the end of their first year of medical work, 13.5% (368/2732) of men and 7.3% (358/4891) of women specified that they intended to apply for a clinical academic training post; and 6.0% (172/2873) of men and 2.2% (111/5044) of women specified that they intended to pursue clinical academic medicine as their eventual career. A higher percentage of Asian (4.8%) than White doctors (3.3%) wanted a long-term career as a clinical academic, as did a higher percentage of doctors who did an intercalated degree (5.6%) than others (2.2%) and a higher percentage of Oxbridge graduates (8.1%) than others (2.8%). Of the graduates of 2005, only 30% of those who in 2006 intended a clinical medicine career also did so when re-surveyed in 2010 (men 44%, women 12%).

Conclusions: There are noteworthy differences by gender and other demographic factors in doctors' intentions to pursue academic training and careers. The gap between men and women in aspirations for a clinical academic career is present as early as the first year after qualification.

Keywords: Medical Education & Training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Asian Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Career Choice*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching* / statistics & numerical data
  • Workforce