REVEALED – What motivates GPs in Australia to take a new job

Convenience and flexibility are key motivators for GPs when considering a new job, an Australian Doctor jobs survey has found.

More than 56% of the 707 respondents to the AusDoc.JOBS survey said that the deciding factor in accepting a job was that it provided the right amount of flexibility, such as the ability to work part-time or from home.

And this was more important for women than men, with 64% of women saying flexibility was a key factor, compared to 47% of men.

Location came a close second, with 55% of GPs saying they decided to accept a new role because it was closer to home or nearer transport links.

For Kate Mellowes, a Sydney-based GP, flexibility was at the core of her decision to join her current practice.

“At the time, I had very small children and the practice owner encouraged us to have a life outside of medicine. I liked the opportunity to work hard but still have a life outside the job,” she says.

For Dr Mellowes, the two-days-a-week arrangement with her practice is working out: she’s been at the same practice since 2000.

The survey found that GPs don’t change jobs very frequently compared to other industries, with about 50% of survey respondents having been in the same job for 5 or more years.

Dr Mellowes says: “For me, having a flexible, child-friendly workplace, nursing support, support from allied health professionals, and collegiate support from the other doctors in the practice are important factors.”

The flexibility of the practice also allows Dr Mellowes to pursue other interests: she assists an orthopaedic surgeon two days a month, and spends an average of a day each month acting as an examiner for the Australian Medical Council, as well as conducting GP training at GP Synergy.

For 45% of GPs, the opportunity to learn new skills and grow as a person was a key factor in their decision to accept a new role. Only a third said increased pay was a key factor.

And while a salary increase is an obvious form of compensation, it’s not the only motivator to seek a new role.

Only 35% of GPs surveyed said they were seeking a new role because they wanted an increase in salary, while 47% said they were looking for paid training opportunities and education subsidies in their next job.

For 38% of GPs, additional paid holiday leave was crucial. Only 27% were looking for a partnership opportunity or equity in the practice, although many GPs commented that a percentage of billings would be appealing.

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