35pc of female medical doctors unemployed in Pakistan, study reveals

ISLAMABAD   -  A huge number of 36,000 or 35% of female medical doctors are unemployed in Pakistan, research data reveals.

A total 104,974 female medical graduates were residing in the country, of which, 68,209 (65%) were employed, 15,619 (14.9%) unemployed and 21,146 (20.1%) were out of labour force, revealed a research study, jointly conducted by Gallup Pakistan and PRIDE across the country.

A large number of female doctors are out of job in Pakistan despite the fact that the world’s fifth most populous country badly needs qualified medical practitioners.

Basing their research on Labour Force Survey 2020-21, the researchers analysed Pakistan Bureau of Statistics’ data on labour market especially female medical graduates and disseminated the same for the country’s wider policy circles.

The crises-hit country is facing a serious shortage of qualified doctors as more than 36,000 female doctors are either jobless or opt to remain out of the labour force for various reasons.

The survey shows that presently 104,974 female medical graduates are residing in Pakistan. Of the total, 68,209 or 65% are working at various private and state-owned medical facilities.

The country, however, has 15,619 or 14.9% female doctors without any job while 21,146, constituting 20.1% of the total number, are completely out of labour force, the survey shows.

According to Pakistan Medical & Dental Council (PMDC), since its inception in 1947 Pakistan has produced about 200,000 doctors, half of them being females.

The data from Bureau of Emigration shows that around 30,000 doctors have left Pakistan since 1970 and on average almost 1,000 are going to settle abroad every year.

Majority of these doctors studied at public sector universities where the government spends billions of rupees to subsidise education.

An average private university whereas charges the medical students with more than Rs5 million, the government one imparts the same education for less than Rs1 million.

Thus the government has to give at least Rs 4 million subsidy to produce a medical doctor.

This taxpayers money goes to waste as one in three of these female doctors are not working, the survey shows. Almost 50,000 female doctors on whom an investment of at least Rs200 billion in current value is wasted, it said.

Majority of these ‘out of labour force’ female medical graduates are married, it said.

The issue of female medical graduates or doctors who remain out of the labour force after completing medical education is a serious concern that warrants further exploration.

The survey also addresses the regional breakup of the employment pattern of these doctors and found that about 28% and 72% of Pakistan’s total medical graduates reside in rural and urban areas, respectively.

In the rural region, 52% or more than half of Pakistan’s medical graduates are employed and 31% are jobless.

The proportion of the medical graduates who prefer to remain out of the labour force in rural areas stands lower, 17%, than the national average of 20%.

A close analysis of the data from urban centres reveals that about 70% of the medical graduates were employed while less than 9% were unemployed. The proportion of the medical graduates who choose to remain out of labour force in Pakistan’s urban areas is more than 21%.

The region-wise comparison shows that employment opportunities for the female graduates are significantly higher, 78%, in urban areas as compared to 22% in rural areas.

Conversely, the proportion of the jobless is significantly higher in rural areas, 57%, compared to 43% in cities, according to the survey.

When we look at the break-up, by region, of 21,146 female medical graduates who opted to remain out of labour force, it is found that their share in cities stands much higher at 76.6% compared to their 23.4% share in rural areas.

It is pertinent to mention here that around 76% of those medical graduates who opted to remain out of labour force were married. By age group, the most frequent occurrence of female medical graduates (54%) belongs to the 25-34 years of age.

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