The Medical Council of New Zealand releases 2022 medical workforce survey results

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Te Kaunihera Rata o Aotearoa | The Medical Council of New Zealand today released the results of its New Zealand Medical Workforce in 2022 survey

Council’s Chair, Dr Curtis Walker, says “key findings show that while Māori and Pasifika doctors are increasing, there is still much more work to do to achieve a more proportional workforce.  Māori and Pasifika remain noticeably under-represented compared to their proportion of the population.”

The results of the survey show there are approximately 872 Māori doctors and 417 Pasifika doctors.

Dr Walker says, “While there is still a gap in the representation of Māori and Pasifika doctors in the medical workforce, the progress that New Zealand’s medical schools are making at undergraduate and graduate levels to increase the numbers of Māori and Pasifika doctors entering the workforce reflects positively.”

The survey shows that the proportion of Māori and Pasifika doctors is higher amongst the more recently qualified doctors.

Women will outnumber men in the workforce by 2025 based on current trends.  According to the survey data, the proportion of women in the workforce increased from 46.6 percent in 2021, to 47.4 percent in 2022.

Dr Walker said, “It’s pleasing to see that this is supported by Council’s registration data, showing (as of 30 June), 47.7 percent of doctors on the register with a current practising certificate are women.”

“It is very important that the medical profession reflects the demographics of the communities it serves.”

The size of the workforce has increased by 11.1 percent between 2019 and 2022, from 16,907 doctors to 18,708.

Aotearoa retained no less than 90 percent of graduates from the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 cohorts for 5 years after initial registration. Retention for earlier cohorts at the same point averaged just under 80 percent.

“This may reflect initiatives like the Ministry of Health’s Voluntary Bonding Scheme giving graduates greater incentives to remain in New Zealand in the years immediately after graduation”, says Dr Walker. 

“It’s pleasing to see Aotearoa is retaining more of our own graduates than we used to. However, the pressures on the medical workforce remain. We need to retain as many of our graduates as possible, as the future leaders and practitioners in our health system.”

The report also shows Aotearoa has a significant proportion of doctors who have gained their medical degree overseas, with 42.2% of doctors on the register being international medical graduates.

“It is important that Council maintains robust and fair processes for doctors from overseas who wish to practise in Aotearoa, while also increasing the number of our own trained doctors to assist in securing a more self-sustainable workforce in the future,” Says Dr Walker.

About the survey

The 2022 New Zealand Medical Workforce report is drawn from the feedback gathered when a doctor applies for the annual practising certificate.   It provides an overview of the current medical workforce, insights into the changing demographics of the profession, and the trends around where and how doctors are working. 


For more information:

Janette Deed
Senior Communications Advisor
Ph: 021 723 259