Working conditions in Irish health sector driving graduates away

A job in the Irish health sector means a lack of staff appreciation and low salary, interviews with medical graduate students at the Health Sector Jobs Fair in Dublin showed on Saturday.  

Studies show that the majority of those working in medicine or related fields in Ireland receive just €27,211 per annum in the early stages of their career, opposed to €36,000 in Australia.

On top of the low salaries being offered to medical graduates, they are also expected to work more than 50 hours a week.

As a result of these mitigating factors, employment in the health sector has been steadily decreasing since 2008 and is now as low as it was during 2005.

For those without family commitments, emigration seems to be the most popular option. Graduates are opting to leave their homeland and move to countries such as Australia with the hope that they might receive a fair income that is proportionate to their working hours.

In Ireland, graduates face “earning less than the minimum wage as well as long hours and overcrowding,” Health Sector Jobs said.

“It’s just too understaffed at the minute. And for what you do and the stress level, you are not getting rewarded enough. The senior nurses say they have never seen it as bad. Ever,” Ellen, a general nurse in Dublin, said.

The UK and Australia have been reeling in Irish medical graduates by the thousands, with the United States and the United Arab Emirates also being other attractive destinations.

Australia accepts Irish health sector graduates as their qualifications meet their medical standards.. New employees travel under the employer-sponsored 457-visa scheme, which gives them access to fair working conditions and permanent residence.

“In these countries, they are welcomed; applauded for their work,” Dr Ray Walley, president of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), said.

“This generation are not willing to put up with [surrendering their professional values]. They are not willing to work themselves into the ground.”

Sabrine Donohoe

Image Credit: Health Job Nation

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