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When do Indian, US, and Japanese doctors pick their career of choice and would they recommend it to others? (M3 India Survey)

M3 India Newsdesk Jul 05, 2018


People choose professions, based on their growing ambitions during childhood or because of experiences and knowledge about the job they gain from family members who are in the same line of work. But would they recommend their job to the future generation? M3 India’s survey asked these questions to doctors in India, US, and Japan, and obtained interesting answers.


Here is a look at the results of Part 4 of the survey.

Parental influence on choice of profession*

Only 14% Indian doctors have one or both parents as physicians, probably influencing them to follow in the same path. In US and Japan, the percentage seems to be slightly higher at 20% and 26% respectively.


Parents play a significant role in influencing their child’s decision making, and this stands true for career decisions as well. Physicians who have doctor parents may choose a similar path as their parents because of being able to see what their parent(s)’ has been like during the formative years. However, the survey findings speak differently, and the results do not vary much among the three countries surveyed. Most doctors surveyed did not have parents who were physicians, to influence their career choices.

At what age do career choices happen?*

53% Indian doctors decide on becoming doctors mostly during their high school years and during college, but physicians in US and Japan, seem to pick their careers early during school.

It is evident from the survey results that the decision of taking up medicine as a profession happens mostly during high school years or while in college. This could be because that is typically the period most people begin to understand what subjects in school interest them and they excel at. The decision may also be influenced by grades and overall academic performance in school, parents, teachers, and guidance counsellors. This seems to be the scenario in India at least where 53% decide to become doctors in high school and 15% decide on their careers during college.

In the US, the decision is taken during different stages of schooling and college- 27% deciding during high school and 26% during college. The early decision making in the US probably happens because of the US schooling system where students are allowed to take advance courses of subjects they are good at. This means that US students at an early age, begin to realize what subjects they particularly excel at and hence choose their careers accordingly.

Japan however, showed interesting results, where 33% doctors mentioned that they had clarity regarding their career of choice during elementary school itself and their decision remained unchanged as they moved through school. This again could be due to the system that prevails in the country, where parents who operate their own clinics pass on the clinics and similar responsibilities to their children, in a way indirectly influencing their decision at a very early age.

Recommending the medical profession as a career option*

25% Indian doctors mentioned that they would definitely not recommend their profession as a career option to family members and friends. These numbers were quite low for US and very low for Japan.


When someone has received first-hand experience in their profession, they know the pros and cons that come with it. Fewer Indian doctors would recommend their profession to others or rather remain neutral when asked for advice on career choice. It is also difficult to get a clear impression as to why 25% Indian doctors would not recommend the medical profession to people they know, but this decision could be attributed to the fact that most Indian doctors have a particularly hard time practicing their profession, due to increasing workloads and patient loads, and lower compensation.

The numbers are slightly better for the other two countries- US and Japan, where 57% and 42% mentioned that they would recommend their profession to family members and friends. Very few of the Japanese doctors surveyed, mentioned that they would not recommend their profession to others.

Key findings

In this part of the survey, some of the important findings we obtained are:

  • Most doctors (India, US, and Japan) who participated in the survey did not have physician parents who may have been first-hand influencers of their career choice.
  • Indian doctors decide on their ambitions and career choices during high school and college, while doctors in US and Japan have more clarity at an earlier age.
  • Fewer Indian doctors would recommend their profession to family members and friends for a career choice, some even discouraging it, but doctors in US and Japan seem to be more positive about recommending their line of work to others.

To read part 1 of the survey, which discusses about work days and work hours for doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 2 of the survey which discusses physician workload among doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 3 of the survey which discusses professional satisfaction among doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 5 of the survey which investigates how easy or difficult it is for doctors to avail childcare leave in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 6 of the survey which investigates work-life balance of doctors in India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 7 of the survey which discusses doctors' views on the healthcare systems in their respective countries- India, US, and Japan, click here.

To read part 8 of the survey which reveals the country that ranks best across various parameters like healthcare system, quality of medical care, work environment, salary, and basic medical reasearch, click here.


*This data should be read as indicative of rather than exact figures.

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