Employment outcomes for recent Canadian radiation oncology graduates

S. K. Loewen, R. Halperin, G. Perry, M. Mckenzie, E. Vigneault, T. Stuckless, M. Brundage


Introduction Radiation oncology (RO) is one of several specialties identified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with employment difficulties for graduating trainees. The purpose of the present study was to determine the employment status and location of recent Canadian RO trainees within 2 years after graduation, to monitor workforce recruitment trends over time, and to capture the opinions of program directors about employment difficulty for graduates and resident morale. Visa trainee graduates were excluded.

Methods Results of the survey administered to RO program directors in 2016 and again in 2018, both with 100% response rates, are presented here.

Results In both surveys, approximately 57% of RO graduates had attained staff or locum employment in Canada or abroad within 2 years from graduation (p = 0.92). However, graduates with Canadian staff employment increased by 46% to 32 in 2018 from 22 in 2016, while the proportion of graduates with staff positions abroad decreased to 6% from 27% (p = 0.04). Most trainees without staff positions were employed as fellows. The proportion of program directors reporting employment difficulties for graduates in the Canadian labour market declined to 38% from 85% (p = 0.04), and the morale of residents in training programs remained high.

Conclusions Employment challenges for newly certified Canadian-trained radiation oncologists continue. However, compared with the situation 2 years ago, trends in the Canadian RO job market suggest a modest improvement, with more staff employment in Canada and lower emigration rates for jobs abroad.


Radiation oncology; Workforce; Graduates; Emigration; Employment; Surveys

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3747/co.26.4925

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)