Profile of the physiotherapy profession in New South Wales (1975-2002)

Gretchen Anderson*, Elizabeth Ellis, Vicki Williams, Carolyn Gates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


This was the first study known to the authors exploring workforce data from the New South Wales Physiotherapists Registration Board over several decades. Labour force statistics were examined from various data sources over the years 1975 to 2002. The results indicate that the demographics and working patterns of physiotherapists in New South Wales have remained remarkably stable over time. The workforce continues to grow, however the growth rate has decreased markedly with only a 2.3% increase from 2001 to 2002. The proportion of men within the profession is steadily increasing; in 1975 men accounted for 5.2% of physiotherapists, in 2000 23.5% of physiotherapists were male. While the male workforce increases, the female workforce is ageing. The modal age for female physiotherapists has steadily increased from 25-29 years in 1975 to 40-44 years in 2001. Importantly, in relation to attrition, the degree of workforce participation has not undergone significant change since 1987. Although labour force analysis has demonstrated that the workforce is in shortage, attrition does not appear to be the major contributor to this situation. The proportion of the profession who are inactive has remained relatively stable since 1987. More pertinent to the current shortage is the slowing of the growth rate of the profession while demand for physiotherapy services continues to rise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Physiotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Labour force
  • Manpower
  • Physiotherapy
  • Workforce


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