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INTRODUCTION: Doctors' job satisfaction is important to the health service to ensure commitment, effective training, service provision and retention. Job satisfaction matters to doctors for their personal happiness, fulfilment, service to patients and duty to employers. Monitoring job satisfaction trends informs workforce planning. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We surveyed UK-trained doctors up to 5 years after graduation for six graduation year cohorts: 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2012. Doctors scored their job enjoyment (Enjoyment) and satisfaction with time outside work (Leisure) on a scale from 1 (lowest enjoyment/satisfaction) to 10 (highest). RESULTS: Overall, 47% had a high level of Enjoyment (scores 8-10) 1 year after graduation and 56% after 5 years. For Leisure, the corresponding figures were 19% and 37% at 1 and 5 years, respectively. For Leisure at 1 year, high scores were given by about 10% in the 1990s, rising to about 25% in the mid-2000s. Low scores (1-3) for Enjoyment were given by 15% of qualifiers of 1996, falling to 5% by 2008; corresponding figures for Leisure were 42% and 19%. At 5 years, the corresponding figures were 6% and 4%, and 23% and 17%. Enjoyment and Leisure were scored higher by general practitioners than doctors in other specialties. Both measures varied little by sex, ethnicity or medical school attended. CONCLUSIONS: Scores for Enjoyment were generally high; those for Leisure were lower. Policy initiatives should address why this aspect of satisfaction is low, particularly in the first year after graduation but also among hospital doctors 5 years after graduation.

Original publication




Journal article


Postgrad Med J

Publication Date





194 - 200


MEDICAL EDUCATION & TRAINING, Attitude of Health Personnel, Career Choice, Happiness, Health Surveys, Humans, Job Satisfaction, Leisure Activities, Life Style, Motivation, Personal Satisfaction, Physicians, Surveys and Questionnaires, United Kingdom