The globalisation of labour markets is at hand. After re-joining global markets post-apartheid, South Africa was faced with different forms of labour market flexibility. This flexibility allowed workers to seek working opportunities wherever they could be found. Also, it further allowed countries to explore international borders, recruiting people of the desired skills in their respective countries. Consequently, South Africa has seen lots of movements within and to outside of the country. These movements are by skilled professionals, semi-skilled and the unskilled. Over the past two decades, there has been rapid growth in migration by health workers. In particular, these have been mostly nurses and doctors. When these professionals migrate, it is usually based on their social, geographical, political, economic needs or otherwise.
This study therefore, explores the pull and push factors that influence South African medical doctors in migrating to other countries. This study was done in three cities in South African namely, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria. In explaining data obtained from the doctors interviewed three theorists were used, Bourdieu on forms of capital, Marx on class and Weber on status.
The results indicate there are various factors that influence migration by South African medical doctors. They further indicate that, because doctors are of different life trajectories, their influences for migrating may differ.
Ultimately, this study explored but did not conclude that, doctors are professionals that migrate concerned with the primary goal of restoring an element of status. This element I assert has been eroded by the changing nature of work. Therefore, I have argued that, prestige, social honour and economic means make up a medical doctor status in society and that migration is a move towards sustaining this status.
Dissertation (MSocSci)--University of Pretoria, 2012.