An “old boys network” persists in the surgical profession with women more likely to be passed over for promotion or quit altogether, a study has shown.
Analysis of more than 3,000 junior surgeons in the NHS in England found that in 2010, 57 per cent of junior surgeons were men.
A decade on, this had increased to 63 per cent, as more women than men had dropped out of the career structure according to the research, which was presented at the British Academy of Management’s online annual conference.
The proportion of men who had been promoted to consultant was 53.6 per cent, and for women it was 36.5 per cent, the data showed.
The counterpart to this, that GPs are overwhelmingly female these days, isn’t being discussed alongside this.
At which point we might want to discuss whether there’s something about the career structures that appeals to one or t’distaff side.
GP training is 10 years. 5 year medicine degree, 2 year foundation course, 3 GP training. Then out into the wilds as an actual GP. Age 28 and that’s the peak, it flatlines from there.
Take the typical female – professional – life curve, kiddies in mid-30s. So, training, 5 to 10 years full time work, couple or three of 2 year breaks for maternity, decade of half time working.
Now compare with surgery and the climb to consultant. Those childbearing and rearing years can’t be taken as time out nor half time. Well, people try to insist that they can – I’ve seen that insistence – but consultant requires 7 years in that third stage. And that’s just to get onto the waiting list to possibly become a consultant.
It’s also not a job where years out nor half time greatly aids in career progression.
So, we’re surprised at the female problem here, are we? Just as surprised as we are at the female preponderance in GPs? And if we’re not equally surprised at each why not?