Background Few studies have investigated personality and medical school variables in regard to job satisfaction after graduation. It is of great importance to investigate these factors because this information may be used in the recruitment/admittance process to medical schools, and possibly to improve medical education. Methods We conducted a nationwide prospective 10-year follow-up study of medical students at all medical schools in Norway. They were approached three times during their medical training: at very beginning (T1), in the middle (T2), in the last year of medical school (T3), and then four years after graduation (T4). There were 210 participants who responded on all four occasions. Job satisfaction was measured with the Job Satisfaction Scale, which was used as the outcome variable. In addition to conducting multiple regression analysis for the total sample, we also conducted similar analyses separately for men and women. Results Among the demographic and personality variables, 'having a father who is a physician' and 'interpersonal functioning (being withdrawn)' were significantly associated with job satisfaction at T4. Among the medical school variables, 'well-being with peers', 'identification with the doctor's role at the end of curriculum', 'perceived medical school stress', and 'perceived clinical skills' were significantly associated with job satisfaction. In the multiple regression analysis only 'father as a physician' and 'perceived clinical skills' yielded an independent influence on the outcome variable in separate analyses within sub-groups of male and female students, 'perceived clinical skills' differentiated among woman only, while 'well-being with peers' differentiated only among men. Conclusion The main finding of this study is that the young physicians who are the most satisfied in their work are those whose fathers are physicians and those who have a high level of perceived clinical skills at the end of medical school. There are also differences in regard to predictors of job satisfaction among men and women. These findings indicate that medical schools should invest substantial effort in clinical skills training, and this seems to be especially important among female students.