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Table 1 Summary of different job satisfiers in public vs. private sectors, for specialists

From: ‘Going private’: a qualitative comparison of medical specialists’ job satisfaction in the public and private sectors of South Africa


Public satisfiers

Private satisfiers


+ Good benefits (for example, paid sabbatical leave, state pension), stable income

+++ Much better pay generally (depending on level of specialization)

Physical environment

++ More predictable working hours - less ‘selling availability’


+++ Higher resource availability (incl. vis. other health workers)


++ Greater sense of career path or progression through more prestige and recognition

Social environment

+++ More collegial relations among doctors


+ Good relations with managers (in H1, not necessarily elsewhere)

+++ Fewer stresses with ‘the administration’ and National/provincial DoH through self-employment


++ Patients less demanding, and less patient contact

++ Patients viewed as more compliant, more patient contact


+++ More positive social relations with other health and hospital workers

Work itself

+++ Opportunities for research and teaching (in academic settings)


+++ More opportunities for ‘challenge’, variety, and feeling ‘needed’ or relevant

+ More ‘straightforward’ and less complicated cases (valued by some)


+ Opportunity for state-of-the-art medical practice experience


+++ More autonomy and ability to influence working environment

  1. Source: qualitative evidence.
  2. Note: ‘+’ signs signify estimates/guesses from the author of how important each job aspect appeared to respondents in the qualitative case study, with a score between 1(+) and 3(+++). Higher scores were accorded based around popularity of the issues and how clear and strong arguments were in their favor.