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The influence of gender on career aspirations of University of Birmingham dental students and junior trainees in the West Midlands


Aims To investigate the gender differences among University of Birmingham dental students and dental core trainees (junior trainees within four years of graduation) in the West Midlands, and to assess career aspirations and working patterns.

Methods A questionnaire was distributed to 189 dental students in years 2, 3 and 4 and to 24 dental core trainees. Data were collected in July 2017 by means of a paper questionnaire. A pilot of 40 questionnaires was carried out to ensure the validity of the questionnaire. All data were processed with Microsoft Excel.

Results Seventy percent of individuals indicated work-life balance was their reason for choosing dentistry, made up of 25% males and 45% females. A larger percentage of female dentists opted to work in dental practice-based settings. Twenty-three percent of undergraduates want to specialise in the future, two-thirds of which were female. In comparison, 83% of the dental core trainees in our cohort want to specialise - 60% of males and 100% of females. The remaining 40% of male dental core trainees answered 'unsure' rather than 'no'. Restorative dentistry, orthodontics and oral surgery were the most popular choice of specialist training. Oral surgery was chosen by nearly twice as many females as males. Paediatric dentistry was selected mostly by females.

Conclusion Women are making up a greater percentage of dental students at the University of Birmingham; their career aspirations and working patterns could have future implications for workforce planning.

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Correspondence to Sadia Khan.

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Khan, S., Ibrahim, S., Butt, R. et al. The influence of gender on career aspirations of University of Birmingham dental students and junior trainees in the West Midlands. Br Dent J 228, 933–937 (2020).

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