PHYSIOS IN HIGH DEMAND
Jobs growth is set to continue in this field, Melanie Burgess reports
PHYSIOTHERAPISTS are among Australia’s most in-demand health professionals, with more than 6000 extra workers forecast to be needed in the coming five years. Federal Government data predicts the physiotherapy workforce will jump 24.9 per cent between 2018 and 2023, increasing by 6200 jobs. Only registered nurses (up by 51,400) and general practitioners and resident medical officers (7400) are expected to gain more new roles.
Mark Brown, clinic co-ordinator of Australian Catholic University’s allied health clinics, says demand for physiotherapists is driven by many factors, including Australia’s ageing population.
“With increased life expectancy, people not only want to live longer but they also want to live well,” he says. “Physiotherapists can help improve people’s quality of life in many ways including by improving their ability to move, reduce pain, and improving their breathing and cardiovascular fitness.
“There is substantial scientific research evidence that shows that physiotherapy-led programs can reduce pain and increase mobility in older people including for conditions such as osteoarthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, as well as improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.”
Brown expects the increasing demand to continue well beyond the short term. He says physiotherapists not only work in hospitals and private practices – Australia’s two largest employers – but also in aged care facilities, schools, industry, the military, and with sports teams and institutes.
“As people increasingly understand the importance of participating in physical activity to maintain their physical, emotional and social health there is likely to be even more demand for physiotherapy,” he says.
“Also, Australian-trained physiotherapists are in high demand internationally.”
SEEK job ad data reveals the average salary in the physiotherapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation sector is $77,414 – more than both the dental sector (averaging $75,453) and the pharmacy sector ($74,584).
HEALTHY INITIATIVE: Bachelor of Physiotherapy student Lea Harley checks a patient during a five-week work experience placement in Vanuatu.