Job preferences for healthcare administration students in China: a discrete choice experiment

Shimeng Liu, Shunping Li, Yujia Li, Haipeng Wang, Jingjing Zhao, Gang Chen

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a deficiency of healthcare administrators in China as compared with other countries; furthermore, the distribution is unequal. To inform an effective policy intervention, it is crucial to understand healthcare administration students' career decision-making. This study aims to investigate the undergraduate students' stated preferences when choosing a job. Methods: A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted among a population-based multistage sample of 668 final year undergraduate healthcare administration students during April to June 2017 in eight universities of China to elicit their job preferences. Attributes include location, monthly income, bianzhi (which refers to the established posts and can be loosely regarded as state administrative staffing), training and career development opportunity, working environment and workload. Conditional and mixed logit models were used to analyze the relative importance of job attributes. Results: All six attributes were statistically significant with the expected sign and demonstrated the existence of preference heterogeneity. Monthly income, workload and working environment were of most concern to healthcare administration students when deciding their future. Among the presented attributes bianzhi was of the least concern. Sub-group analysis showed that students who have an urban background and/or with higher annual family incomes were willing to pay more for working in the city. In addition, students from western and middle universities valued bianzhi higher than students from eastern universities. Conclusions: This is the first study focusing on the career decision-making of Chinese healthcare administration students at a critical career decision-making point. Both monetary and non-monetary interventions could be considered by policy-makers to attract students to work in health institutions, especially in rural and remote health institutions in China. There exists preference heterogeneity on healthcare administration students' job preferences, which should also be taken into account in developing more effective policy incentive packages.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0211345
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

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