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Do Indian doctors place more importance on career than doctors in US and Japan? (M3 India survey)

M3 India Newsdesk Jul 07, 2018

When long hours and excessive stress are phrases that are synonymous with a profession, it becomes a struggle from early on to strike a perfect balance between professional achievements and personal life as a doctor. In this part of the survey, we have explored what work-life balance means to doctors, across India, US, and Japan.







Part 6 of the survey has some interesting and surprising data to show.

The energy flow- work vs private time for doctors*

52% Indian doctors choose to invest their time and energy in work rather than engage in personal interests. This percentage was fairly low among doctors in US (38%) and Japan (31%).


Obviously, even if work-life balance may not technically exist for doctors, some of them still work out ways to give equal priority to career and private time. Very few doctors in India have managed to achieve work-life balance, as is evident from the first part of the survey which revealed that most Indian doctors work through the entire week and routinely for more than 12 hours per day. So, it comes as no surprise that for Indian doctors, work seems to take precedence over private time.

A similar situation persists in the US too where 38% doctors also value work over personal time. Japanese doctors however have the work-life balance more sorted out than US and Indian doctors, with a slightly higher percentage (44%) agreeing that they value both work and private time equally.

What do doctors rank as most important in life? *

56% of US doctors rank time spent with family and personal time as most important in life, whereas only 29% Indian doctors place more importance on this aspect.



Doctors were asked to rank the most important things in life like family and personal time, professional skills, income, contributions to society, reputation, free time, and research achievements. Surprisingly, a higher percentage (56%) of US doctors over Indian doctors, seemed to prioritize family and personal time. Indian doctors seemed to value income (54%) and position and reputation (36%) more than US doctors. They seemed to place career and skills ahead of family commitments and personal time. Also, quite interestingly, 36% US doctors ranked free time as being important, probably for relaxation and unwinding from the constant pressure and stress at work.

At what age do doctors wish to retire? *

23% Indian doctors never want to retire! Japanese doctors too (28%) never wish to seek retirement. US doctors seem more fixed on retiring between 60 to 69 years.


In India, the average retirement age for doctors varies among central government institutions, state-run hospitals, medical colleges, and private hospitals. In this survey, surprisingly, 20% Indian doctors mention that they wish to retire before the 54 and 59, but also even more surprising- 23% do not want to retire at all. This could be because, post a certain age, they may wish to continue being in the profession but move towards only private practice or teaching positions at medical colleges.

The situation in Japan is also the same, where 28% do not wish to retire. The other major percentage wish to retire between ages 65 to 74. In the US, 52% doctors want to retire between the ages of 60 and 69, and only 14% want to retire before reaching 60.

Key findings

Here are a few interesting findings from this part of the survey:

  • Indian doctors place work and career as their top priority. These areas are where most of their energy and time is invested in. Doctors in US and Japan prioritize work, but also value private time.
  • US doctors seem like the more family-oriented people, as they have ranked time with family or personal time as the most important thing in life. Indian doctors seem to give more importance to building a solid reputation and increasing income.
  • Out of all the Indian doctors who participated in the survey, some wish to retire before reaching 60, while some wish to never retire at all. US doctors mostly wish to retire before 70.

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 doctor 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 4 of the survey which discusses about when doctors in India, US, and Japan decide on their career and if they would recommend their professions, 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 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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