Snap-shot of the Australian occupational therapy academic workforce: informing present and future higher education personnel needs

Carol McKinstry, Louise Gustaffson, Ted Brown, Anne Poulsen

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Introduction:More Australian universities are now offering entry-to-practice occupational therapy courses particularly since the deregulation of the tertiary education sec-tor. This has led to an increased demand for qualified and experienced occupational therapy staff in the higher education sector. Little is known about the current Australian academic workforce in occupational therapy or predicted future workforce needs.Objectives:To map the current Australian occupational therapy academic work force to assist future workforce planning and to gain insights into the demographics, qualifications, job satisfaction, retention and work-life balance of this participant group.Methods:An online survey consisting of a number of standardised scales was distributed to the heads of occupational therapy courses within Australian universities and was also directly to the email addresses of occupational therapy academics accessible through websites. The survey was conducted between November 2017 and March 2018.Statistical analysis of quantitative data and thematic of qualitative data was conducted.Results:Responses were received from 121 participants. Most respondents were aged between 36 and 55 years (65%), and 13 were males. Most academics were in ongoing positions (82%) and were full-time (60%). The majority of participants were in teaching/research roles (72%) while 25% were in education-focused roles. Over half the participants (55%) were at level B (55%) and were satisfied with their current salary and benefits while perceptions regarding the chance for promotion varied. Data about the participants’ job satisfaction, retention and work-life balance factors is still being analysed and will be reported.Conclusion:While not all Australian academics participated in the survey, the results provide a snap-shot of the current workforce to inform future personnel planning.Academia has many benefits, however, support and mentoring is still required to ensure that experienced and qualified staff are available to educate future generations of Australian occupational therapists
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian Occupational Therapy Journal
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
EventOccupational Therapy Australia National Conference and Exhibition 2019: Together Towards Tomorrow - International Convention Centre, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 10 Jul 201912 Jul 2019
Conference number: 28th


  • occupational therapy
  • workforce
  • Academic staff
  • higher education

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