Job preferences of undergraduate pharmacy students in China: a discrete choice experiment

Ping Liu, Shimeng Liu, Tiantian Gong, Quan Li, Gang Chen, Shunping Li

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Background: Pharmacists are a crucial part of the health workforce and play an important role in achieving universal health coverage. In China, pharmaceutical human resources are in short supply, and the distribution is unequal. This study aimed to identify the key job characteristics that influence the job preferences of undergraduate pharmacy students and to elicit the relative importance of different job characteristics to shed light on future policy interventions. Methods: A discrete choice experiment was conducted to assess the job preferences of undergraduate pharmacy students from 6 provinces in mainland China. A face-to-face interview was used to collect data. Conditional logit and mixed logit models were used to analyse data, and the final model was chosen according to the model fit statistics. A series of policy simulations was also conducted. Results: In total, 581 respondents completed the questionnaire, and 500 respondents who passed the internal consistency test were analysed. All attributes were statistically significant except for open management. Monthly income and work location were most important to respondents, followed by work unit (which refers to the nature of the workplace) and years to promotion. There was preference heterogeneity among respondents, e.g., male students preferred open management, and female students preferred jobs in public institutions. Furthermore, students with an urban background or from a single-child family placed higher value on a job in the city compared to their counterparts. Conclusion: The heterogeneity of attributes showed the complexity of job preferences. Both monetary and nonmonetary job characteristics significantly influenced the job preferences of pharmacy students in China. A more effective policy intervention to attract graduates to work in rural areas should consider both incentives on the job itself and the background of pharmacy school graduates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Number of pages12
JournalHuman Resources for Health
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • China
  • Discrete choice experiments
  • Job preferences
  • Undergraduate pharmacy students

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