Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from HRH and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Job satisfaction and motivation of health workers in public and private sectors: cross-sectional analysis from two Indian states

David H Peters1*, Subrata Chakraborty2, Prasanta Mahapatra3 and Laura Steinhardt1

Author Affiliations

1 Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA

2 Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow, India

3 The Institute of Health Systems, Hyderabad, India

For all author emails, please log on.

Human Resources for Health 2010, 8:27  doi:10.1186/1478-4491-8-27

Published: 25 November 2010

Abstract

Background

Ensuring health worker job satisfaction and motivation are important if health workers are to be retained and effectively deliver health services in many developing countries, whether they work in the public or private sector. The objectives of the paper are to identify important aspects of health worker satisfaction and motivation in two Indian states working in public and private sectors.

Methods

Cross-sectional surveys of 1916 public and private sector health workers in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, India, were conducted using a standardized instrument to identify health workers' satisfaction with key work factors related to motivation. Ratings were compared with how important health workers consider these factors.

Results

There was high variability in the ratings for areas of satisfaction and motivation across the different practice settings, but there were also commonalities. Four groups of factors were identified, with those relating to job content and work environment viewed as the most important characteristics of the ideal job, and rated higher than a good income. In both states, public sector health workers rated "good employment benefits" as significantly more important than private sector workers, as well as a "superior who recognizes work". There were large differences in whether these factors were considered present on the job, particularly between public and private sector health workers in Uttar Pradesh, where the public sector fared consistently lower (P < 0.01). Discordance between what motivational factors health workers considered important and their perceptions of actual presence of these factors were also highest in Uttar Pradesh in the public sector, where all 17 items had greater discordance for public sector workers than for workers in the private sector (P < 0.001).

Conclusion

There are common areas of health worker motivation that should be considered by managers and policy makers, particularly the importance of non-financial motivators such as working environment and skill development opportunities. But managers also need to focus on the importance of locally assessing conditions and managing incentives to ensure health workers are motivated in their work.