4102.0 - Australian Social Trends, April 2013  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 10/04/2013   
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10 April 2013
Embargoed: 11.30 am Canberra Time
Increase in number of young female doctors

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has today released a new analysis of data from the 2011 Census about our doctors and nurses as part of the Australian Social Trends series.

ABS Director of Social and Progress Reporting Jane Griffin-Warwicke said "while traditionally a male dominated occupation, there are many more female doctors than in the past. In fact, 57 per cent of doctors under the age of 30 are women. However, the majority of specialists were men, and some specialisations, such as surgery, were particularly male dominated."

"But there are some specialisations where there were more women than men, such as endocrinologists, pathologists, and paediatricians.

"While there has been a strong increase in the proportion of doctors that are female, there has been little change in nursing. In 2011, about nine out of ten nurses were women, which is largely unchanged from 2001," said Ms Griffin-Warwicke.

The analysis found that the overall numbers of doctors and nurses have been growing at a faster rate than the population, but their distribution is quite uneven.

Ms Jane Griffin-Warwicke commented "major cities have twice as many GPs per person as remote areas, and GPs in remote areas tend to work longer hours than those in major cities.

"Overall, GPs worked an average of 42 hours a week, and specialists worked an average of 45 hours a week. However, some specialists tend to work very long hours, especially surgeons," said Ms Griffin-Warwicke.

In 2011, around half of doctors were born overseas. In comparison, less than a third of the total employed population were born overseas.

The country of origin of overseas born doctors is also changing. In 2001, 9 per cent of overseas born GPs were born in India and 20 per cent were born in the United Kingdom. In 2011, 12 per cent of overseas born GPs were born in India, and 13 per cent were born in the UK.

All AST articles are available in full online at www.abs.gov.au/socialtrends

Media notes:
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.