Job Satisfaction and Workforce Retention of Newly Qualified Social Work and Community Services Workers: An Australian Pilot Study
Keywords: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.
Adams, K., Hean, S., Sturgis, P., & Macleod Clark, J. (2006). Investigating the factors influencing professional identity of first- year health and social care students. Learning in Health and Social Care, 5(2), 55–68.
Australian Council of Social Services. (2013). ACOSS Australian community sector survey 2013: National report, ACOSS Paper
Strawberry Hills, NSW: Author.
Borzaga, C., & Tortia, E. (June, 2006). Worker motivations, job satisfaction, and loyalty in public and nonprofit social services.
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 35(2), 225–248.
Campbell, N., McAllister, L., & Eley, D. (2012). The influence of motivation in recruitment and retention of rural and remote allied health professionals: A literature review. Rural and Remote Health, 12, 1-15. Retrieved from www.rrh.org.au
Community Care. (2010). NQSW year leads to high job satisfaction. Community Care, Jul 15, 7.
Cowin, L., Johnson, M., Craven, R. G., & Marsh, H. W. (2008). Causal modelling of self-concept, job satisfaction, and retention of nurses. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 45, 1449–1459.
DePanfilis, D., & Zlotnik, J. L. (2008). Retention of front-line staff in child welfare: A systematic review of research. Children and Youth Services Review, 30, 995–1008.
Fook, J., & Gardiner, F. (2013). Critical reflection in context: Applications in health and social care. Milton Park, UK: Routledge. Glisson, C., & Durick, M. (1988). Predictors of job satisfaction and organisational commitment in human service organisations.
Administrative Science Quarterly, 33(1), 61–81.
Haley-Lock, A. (2007). Up close and personal: Employee networks and job satisfaction in a human service context. Social Service Review, 61(4), 683–707.
Healy, K. (2009). A case of mistaken identity: The social welfare professions and new public management. Journal of Sociology, 45(4), 401-418.
Healy, K., & Lonne, B. (2010). The social work and human services workforce: Report from a national study of education, training and workforce needs. Sydney, NSW: Australian Learning and Teaching Council.
Hussein, S., Moriarty, J., Stevens, M., Sharpe, E., & Manthorpe, J. (2014). Organisational factors, job satisfaction, intention to leave among newly qualified social workers in England. Social Work Education, 33(3), 381–396.
Locke, E. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunette (Ed.), Handbook of industrial and organisational psychology (pp. 1297–1349). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Nissly, J., Mor Barak, M., & Levin, A. (2005). Stress, support, and workers’ intentions to leave their jobs in public child welfare.
Administration in Social Work, 29(1), 79–100.
Scottish Social Services Council. (2011). Post registration training and learning requirements for newly qualified social workers (NQSW): Guidance notes for NQSWs. Dundee, Scotland: Scottish Social Services Council.
Sharpe, E., Moriarty, J., Stevens, M., Manthorpe, J., & Hussein, S. (2011). Into the workforce: Report from a study of social work graduates. London, UK: Sharpe Research; Social Care Workforce Research Unit, King’s College London.
Shim, W. S., Myung, J. H., & Lee, J. (2008). Professional identity, job satisfaction, and retention of licensed social workers in Korea. Korea Journal of Public Welfare Administration, 18(1), 111–133.
Tham, P. (2006). Why are they leaving? Factors affecting intention to leave among social workers in child welfare. British Journal of Social Work, 1–22.
Victorian Council of Social Service. (2007). Recruitment and retention in the community sector: A snapshot of current concerns, future trends and workforce strategies. Melbourne, VIC: Author.
Copyright (c) 2015 Australian and New Zealand Social Work and Welfare Education and Research
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.