Identifying the factors that affect the job satisfaction of early career Notre Dame graduate physiotherapists

Aust Health Rev. 2016 Nov;40(5):538-543. doi: 10.1071/AH15124.


Objective Previous studies have highlighted the short career intentions and high attrition rates of physiotherapists from the profession. The aim of the present study was to examine the job satisfaction and attrition rates of early career physiotherapists graduating from one Western Australian university. Methods A self-administered online survey was conducted of 157 Notre Dame physiotherapy graduates (2006-2012), incorporating a job satisfaction rating scale. Results Results showed that lowered job satisfaction was related to working in the cardiorespiratory area of physiotherapy and working in multiple jobs since graduation. The majority of graduates did not predict a long-term career in physiotherapy, highlighting a lack of career progression and limited scope of practice as influential factors. Conclusions Job satisfaction in early career physiotherapists varies across different clinical areas of practice related to several factors, including challenge and flexibility. New roles in the profession, including extended scope roles, may impact on the future job satisfaction of physiotherapists. Further studies are needed to explore the effect of these roles on workforce trends, including attrition rates. What is known about the topic? Physiotherapists predict careers of 10 years or less on entry into the profession. No previous studies have explored the individual factors influencing job satisfaction in early career physiotherapists across different clinical settings. What does this paper add? This study highlights specific factors influencing the job satisfaction of early career physiotherapists, including clinical area of practice. Physiotherapists working in the cardiorespiratory area were less satisfied, as were physiotherapists undertaking multiple positions since graduation. What are the implications for practitioners? This study informs employers and workforce planners on the factors affecting job satisfaction in early career physiotherapists. In addition, knowledge of issues affecting job satisfaction in the early career stage may assist educational institutions in their preparation of graduates for the future health workforce.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Australia
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapists*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires