Job Satisfaction and Workforce Retention of Newly Qualified Social Work and Community Services Workers: An Australian Pilot Study


  • Karen Healy The University of Queensland
  • Gai Harrison The University of Queensland
  • Michele Foster The University of Queensland


Newly qualified workers, Community services, Preparation for practice, Professional identity, Job satisfaction


Creating a sustainable community services workforce is a major concern for educators and employers in many countries (Australian Council of Social Services [ACOSS], 2013; Hussein, Moriarty, Stevens, Sharpe, & Manthorpe, 2014). This paper reports on find- ings from an Australian pilot study on job satisfaction and intention to remain in one’s organisation among newly qualified workers (NQWs) in the not-for-profit (NFP) comm- unity services sector (see Hussein et al., 2014). Our study surveyed 59 NQWs working as social work and community service practitioners in NFP community services in one Australian state. We discuss the range of factors which emerged as important for promoting job satisfaction and intention to remain among these workers. While the study is one of the first on NQWs in Australia, it supports findings from two prior United Kingdom studies concerning the value NQWs place on values alignment in practice, a supportive team environment and opportunities for advancing knowledge and skills in the first year of practice. Our study also points to a strong sense of professional and occupational identity among NQWs in the community services sector and its importance for job satisfaction and workforce retention. This paper identifies directions for future research and provides tentative directions for promoting job satisfaction and workforce retention among NQWs.


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