After years of studying and training to become a physician and the hours spent to set up a practice, comes the question of compensation for all the hard work from our side. Around the world, the amount of blood, sweat, and tears shed to make it as a physician is very similar, yet salaries are highly variable. It has to be taken into consideration that macroeconomic factors play a big part in this, and hence the great differences between one country and the next.

The Grass Is Greener On A Certain Side

Depending on the stand point, a physician from Country A could make more than someone from Country B, but then a physician from Country C could make three times as much as the same physician from Country A.


It is interesting to know how much another makes, yet it is one of those questions that is not normally asked, nor discussed. Specialists still reserve the elite spots of being higher earners than other doctors such as general practitioners (GPs), and the gap between specialists and GPs continues to widen in most countries, pushing more and more physicians to specialize and even sub-specialize.

Physicians remain at the top of the salary chain, alongside other healthcare professionals such as pharmacists and dentists. Of course, being highly skilled and well-trained are primary factors that influence how fat your pay cheque is going to be.

Doctoring in Netherlands

• Salary - Specialists

From the country of canals and windmills, the Netherlands is number one for doctors’ compensations worldwide. A specialist in the Netherlands makes an average of US$253,000 (SGD 343,714/ MYR 1,029,090) per year as compared to their counterparts in the United States of America, who make an average of US$230,000 (SGD 312,467/ MYR 935,536) per year.

• Salary - General Practitioners

General practitioners, on the other hand, have a lower income in the Netherlands at US$117,000 (SGD 158,950/ MYR 475,903), lagging behind US GPs who earn around US$161,000 (SGD 218,727/ MYR 654,875) per year.

• Other benefits

Comparably, between the US and the Netherlands, the latter has shorter working hours and more holidays. Their supply of doctors is also higher than in the US, and they tend not to be as caught up in medical malpractice suits and issues of student loans, which has resulted in concerns of doctor shortage in US.

Compensation across Asia

Contrary to popular belief there are Asian countries that provide a larger income for doctors than Western countries.

• Taiwan

Taiwanese GPs make an average net monthly income of $5,388 (Purchasing Power Parity), which is higher than in the UK at $5,210. This difference is mainly due to larger deductions from the UK such as taxes, social security, and compulsory additional insurance.

• Japan – $4,594 (JPY 5401)

• Singapore – $3,843 (SGD3,521)

• Thailand – $2,936 (937 BAHT)

• Kuwait – $2,371. (2960 DINARS)

Compensation For Services Provided

Doing a job with the sole purpose of caring for the health of people, compensation tends to be a controversial matter. Doctors’ professional fees tend to be perceived as shocking figures when patients are handed their hospital bills, which promotes the thinking that medical practice is aimed towards being more lucrative rather than as a self-less act. Hours of follow-ups and hospital rounds, medical chart reviews, answering on-call pages and the like takes a substantial toll on medical professionals.

In a lot of instances, the physician is not paid what he or she is due for their constant care, and at times they are not even paid at all. Although doctors are regarded to be very well-paid individuals, the amount of work and time put into providing their expertise takes a physical, mental, and emotional toll on them that patients hardly see; and many a times, the stress of the job overshadows the monetary benefits that physicians receive.

A minority of doctors perceive making a large sum of money as the best aspect of their job. Personal fulfillment and satisfaction are important in order to truly feel contentment, but the old saying still holds water in that, “money makes the world go round”. MIMS


Read more:
Hospital employment vs. private practice
Doctor’s Salary Upgrade: What Skills Do You Need To Improve?
3 High-Paying Non-Physician Medical Career Pathways