More women training as specialists in Australia’s medical workforce

Australia's medical workforce is continuing to grow, with strong increases in the number of women training as specialists, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Medical workforce 2014 , examines demographic and employment characteristics of medical practitioners who were registered in Australia in 2014.

'The proportion of women in the medical practitioner workforce has been steadily increasing since 2004. In 2014 women made up almost 40% of the medical workforce and 53% of early-career medical practitioners aged 20-34,' said AIHW spokesperson Dr Adrian Webster.

The total number of registered medical practitioners increased from 65,499 in 2004 to 94,617 in 2014. The majority of these (81,478) were employed as clinicians.

The largest proportions were employed as specialists (34.9%), followed by general practitioners (33.0%), specialists-in-training (17.9%) and hospital non-specialists (11.8%).

'Women accounted for just over half of all specialists-in-training in 2014, which was almost double the 28.7% of practicing specialists who were women,' Dr Webster said.

The average age of employed male medical practitioners was 48 years, while for women it was just over 42 years. About 1 in 4 employed medical practitioners were aged 55 or older.

The average number of hours worked per week remained stable between 2012 and 2014, with men working an average of 45.1 hours and women working an average of 38.6 hours.

Approximately two thirds of employed clinicians gained their initial medical qualification in Australia. The largest number of overseas trained medical practitioners originated from India (4,520) followed by England (3,794) and New Zealand (2,187).

To complement the report, the AIHW has also released a new dynamic data display covering the period 2011-2014, which allows users to explore trends and patterns of health and medical professions by location, gender, age, Indigenous status, working hours, public/private employment, and country of initial qualification. The data includes information on GPs, specialists, nurses, midwives, dentists, physiotherapists, pharmacists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, optometrists and other allied health professions.

It is available at Workforce data.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 26 November 2015

Further information: Dr Adrian Webster, AIHW, mob. 0434 022 127