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Is there an occupational therapy employment crisis within Australia? An investigation into two consecutive cohorts of occupational therapy graduates from a single Victorian university identifying trends in employment

Version 2 2024-06-03, 19:03
Version 1 2017-11-15, 10:48
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-03, 19:03 authored by Pearse FayPearse Fay, L Adamson
BACKGROUND: Within the context of growing concerns about a potential oversupply of occupational therapist, this research examines when, where and how long new graduates take to gain employment and identifies influences upon the health and university systems. METHOD: A mixed method research design, using an online survey was adopted to investigate the topic. Two consecutive cohorts of graduates from a single university program were invited to participate. RESULTS: Seventy-five (58%) responses were received, with 63 (84%) currently employed in an occupational therapy role. Of the 12 (16%) not employed, only 3 (4%) described themselves as actively seeking employment in an occupational therapy role. A wide spread of employment settings and scope of practice areas was reported. CONCLUSION: Findings suggest that occupational therapy graduates are gaining employment in a range of settings and practice areas, relatively quickly. This research adds evidence to the conversation around graduate employment within a region of Australia. The Australian population, health system and university changes are possible factors influencing employment. The research reveals the difficulties in understanding the current situation with limitations in data collected, varied terminology and an ever changing job seeking environment. The research provides a starting point for the occupational therapy profession to further understand the directions the profession is taking. University programs may also benefit by using the research to tailor course content to assist graduates in gaining employment or to present students with the prospects of new employment opportunities.

History

Journal

Australian Occupational Therapy Journal

Volume

64

Pagination

466-476

Location

Melbourne, Vic.

ISSN

0045-0766

eISSN

1440-1630

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2017, Occupational Therapy Australia

Issue

6

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia