An investigation of the factors that influence the retention of physiotherapists in the South African public sector

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dc.contributor.author Rakgokong, Lintle Idlett
dc.date.accessioned 2008-07-16T13:31:05Z
dc.date.available 2008-07-16T13:31:05Z
dc.date.issued 2008-07-16T13:31:05Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/5079
dc.description.abstract ABSTRACT Every year, physiotherapists leave the South African public sector in large numbers, citing reasons such as low salaries and unsatisfactory working conditions as the main contributing factors. However, despite this, there are some physiotherapists who continue to choose to stay for the duration of their careers, and it is the aim of this study to investigate the factors that influence these choices. The author has tried to achieve this by trying to predict those factors that cause physiotherapists to stay at their current work places and by finding out if these physiotherapists share any common characteristics and motivations which contribute to their decisions to stay. The participants were also asked to rate their current job satisfaction, rank the importance of given motivation factors for retention and what they knew about their own institutions’ retention strategies. The study population was made up of all the qualified physiotherapists working for the South African public sector in Gauteng between January and December 2006. There were 93 physiotherapists who met these study criteria, 76 (82.0%) of whom completed the questionnaire. The research revealed that characteristics such as gender, age, race, marital status, having children and being the family breadwinner played a significant role as determinants of whether physiotherapists left or stayed at their current public sector jobs in 2007. For example, the female participants and those who had children were twice as likely to stay as the male participants and those who did not have children, respectively. Similarly, the white participants and those who were family breadwinners were three times more likely to stay than those of other racial groups and non-breadwinners, respectively. Physiotherapists over the age of thirty-one were almost five times more likely to stay than their younger counterparts. On the other hand, factors such as professional rankings, having postgraduate qualifications and the type or level of institution seemed to play relatively insignificant roles. According to the results, the respondents’ main source of dissatisfaction was their salaries, followed by what they felt were poor opportunities for promotion. Feeling unappreciated and undervalued in their workplaces, as well as poor recognition for their professional status, were also rated as contributors to dissatisfaction. They felt that more attention needed to be given to improve on these factors if the retention of physiotherapists was to be achieved successfully. The factors which received the highest importance rating and ranking as retention factors, included, once again, better salaries, promotion opportunities, career development and training opportunities, as well as receiving the scarce skills allowance. In terms of knowledge of the existence of retention strategies for physiotherapists in their institutions, only 29% responded positively, the most commonly cited one being the scarce skills allowance. The main conclusion that was drawn from this study is that in addition to better salaries, improved working conditions and more promotion opportunities, there are more characteristic features that are shared by those physiotherapists that stay in the South African public sector. These, as mentioned earlier, include being a female, being over the age of 31, being married, having children and carrying the financial responsibilities of a family breadwinner. Finally, in terms of some of the key recommendations made, the findings of this study reveal a heightened necessity for the government of South Africa to review the salary structure of public sector physiotherapists in an effort to motivate them and encourage them to stay. Furthermore, it is recommended that physiotherapy managers improve their human resource record keeping, particularly worker flow and turnover data, and that they encourage more evidence-based research in the field of physiotherapy human resources. en
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dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject physiotherapists in South Africa en
dc.title An investigation of the factors that influence the retention of physiotherapists in the South African public sector en
dc.type Thesis en


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