Allied Health recruitment and retention strategic planning

Ms Kate Vickers1, Ms Sue  Colley1

1South Western Sydney Local Health District, Liverpool, Australia

Background: A consistent and significant issue facing the Allied Health workforce is the recruitment and retention of skilled staff. Factors such as a female workforce and competitive job markets are resulting in high frequency of temporary and part time positions, a high staffing turn over and difficulties filling senior positions. Therefore, a key priority for a large metropolitan local health district (LHD) is to develop a strategies that ensure strong recruitment and retention processes. To achieve this, this study aimed to improve recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce through the incorporation of AH feedback into strategic workforce initiatives.

Method: A qualitative descriptive study was conducted using a voluntary pre-and post-implementation survey of Allied Health staff in a large metropolitan LHD. The results of the pre-implementation survey conducted in 2015 were utilised to inform workforce strategic planning for the next 4 year period. The post-implementation survey will be conducted in early 2019 with current Allied Health staff of the same LHD.

Results: A total of 404 Allied Health staff responded to the invitation to participate in the pre-implementation study. Factors improving recruitment and retention included education and training opportunities, reputation of AH and the LHD, supervision, communication and career promotion opportunities. In the future, staff wanted to see the LHD address education and training particularly in management and clinical specialty skills and career promotion. Strategies included implementation of leadership training; expansion of clinical supervision processes; staff recognition, maturing of governance structures to promote career progression and development of research positions and support.

Discussion: Trends influencing recruitment and retention of skilled staff such as education and training and development of career opportunities were incorporated into the 4-year workforce strategic plan. The post-implementation survey will be conducted in early 2019 to determine improvements in recruitment and retention of a skilled AH workforce.


Kate Vickers has been a speech pathologist for 15 years and is currently the Allied Health Workforce and Development Officer for South Western Sydney Local Health District. She has been in the Workforce and Development Officer role for over 5 years and in that time has focused on projects for workforce redesign, staff development and education. She is also undertaking a Masters of Health Management, specialising in organisational development.

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