‘I cannot sustain the workload and the emotional toll’: reasons behind Australian teachers’ intentions to leave the profession

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Concerns are mounting about the attraction and retention of teachers in Australian schools. This study draws upon a questionnaire of 2444 Australian primary and secondary school teachers, which revealed that only 41% of respondents intended to remain in the profession. Through a thematic analysis of the qualitative data within the questionnaire, we use employee turnover theory to enable an understanding of the reasons 1446 of the respondents described as influencing their intentions to leave the profession. These reasons included heavy workloads, health and wellbeing concerns for teachers and the status of the profession. We also use turnover theory to analyse responses from all 2444 respondents and explore possible mitigating strategies or practices that might reduce turnover intention, including meaningful reductions in workload and raising the status of the teaching profession. In doing so, we contribute nuanced qualitative empirical insights which can inform policy and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-209
Number of pages14
JournalAustralian Journal of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • career paths
  • teacher attitudes
  • Teacher attrition
  • teacher burnout
  • teacher retention
  • teacher shortage

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