Australian occupational therapy academic workforce: An examination of retention, work-engagement, and role overload issues

Scand J Occup Ther. 2021 Aug 4:1-11. doi: 10.1080/11038128.2021.1958002. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: The quality of the academic workforce is influenced by multi-level interactionist factors yet there is limited research into these influencing factors.

AIM: To investigate relationships between individual characteristics of Australian occupational therapy academics and work-related variables.

METHOD: An exploratory cross-sectional online survey collected demographic data and used standardized scales including the Turnover Intention Scale, 9-item Utrecht Work Engagement Scale, Work-Life Balance Scale, Role Overload Scale and Self-Defined Burnout Scale. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.

RESULTS: Academics who were more than five years in their current academic level were: significantly more likely to consider leaving their job; more often frustrated when not given opportunity to achieve their work-related goals; and less engaged. Those who had worked in higher education for longer than ten years were more likely to report role overload while participants working in higher education for less than five years were less likely to report burnout.

CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: To meet current and future demand for Australian occupational therapists, an engaged and supported academic workforce is needed. These findings suggest the need for attention to mentoring and career development particularly for those in academic levels longer than five years to increase work engagement and retention.

PMID:34344278 | DOI:10.1080/11038128.2021.1958002

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