Several directors of institutes of forensic and legal medicine in German-speaking areas have noticed a lack of young doctors with specialty qualifications (full board certification) in forensic medicine during recent years. The pilot study was intended to brainstorm the possible reasons for this shortage, by carrying out a survey of doctors working in departments of forensic medicine, paying particular attention to job satisfaction and opinions as to why there are fewer forensic specialists. We sent the link to an online questionnaire to all members of the societies of forensic medicine in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Altogether, 129 respondents completed the questionnaire and were included in the study. Slightly more men than women replied; the mean age of all respondents was 41. Most respondents had completed their specialty training and worked full-time. In general, participants were moderately satisfied with their careers. Men reported greater career success than women, as determined by objective criteria. Career support was considered to be suboptimal. For most of the respondents, the level of enjoyment of working in forensic medicine was either higher than or approximately the same as the level recalled from five years earlier. Possible reasons for the lack of qualified doctors in forensic medicine institutes are the non-availability of both senior posts and specialty training posts. Career opportunities in forensic medicine are not considered to be attractive.