Demand for therapists continue at clinics

NDIS drives demand for therapists

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is the biggest social reform that Australia has seen since the introduction of Medicare in 1975. It is revolutionary in that it gives individuals with disabilities the power to decide what services they require. By 2020 it’s estimated that almost half a million people will benefit from the NDIS.


Patients have the power to choose their services

Physiotherapist correcting the posture of a patient Physiotherapy services provide person-centred care that will improve quality of life.

With power in the hands of those who use the services, the type of specialist services that will be in high demand is expected to be those that significantly improve the day-to-day life of the disabled.

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and other rehabilitation services all provide person-centred care that has the potential to improve quality of life. These specialists support clients and help them reach their true potential. In the past, many people who were reliant on agencies and government welfare had limited access to these type of services, but this is now changing thanks to the NDIS.


Job opportunities for therapists are on the rise

Female patient doing some special leg stretching exercises  One of the biggest issues reported by employers is a lack of suitable candidates.

According to economists at Goldman Sachs, 50,000 healthcare jobs created last year were directly linked to the NDIS and it’s estimated another 100,000 jobs are still to come. In fact, the number of internet advertised vacancies for health professions grew faster than the average of all other occupations in Australia. While these cover a wide range of healthcare positions, demand for physiotherapy and rehabilitation roles in particular are growing. The Department of Jobs and Small Business also expects that demand for occupational therapists will grow by almost 15% by 2023.

Demand for occupational therapists will grow by almost 15% by 2023.

While demand is growing, the number of people available to fill those roles is tightening. In 2018, 45% of employers had unfilled vacancies in the healthcare sector compared to 34% in the year before. One of the biggest issues reported by employers is a lack of suitable applicants, with more than 28% of employers attracting no suitable applicants for vacancies in 2017-2018.

 These issues are particularly pronounced for roles seeking therapists and rehabilitation specialists, making their skills even more attractive to prospective employers. Only 39% of vacant physiotherapy positions were able to be filled and employers reported that they received only 1.1 suitable applicants per role last financial year.

This gap is even greater in regional areas, with only 52% of regional employers able to fill vacancies compared to 59% of their urban counterparts last financial year. Occupational therapists, in particular, are in high demand in regional areas thanks to a shortage of suitable applicants.


As the NDIS is rolled out across the country, these shortages will become even more pronounced while demand for quality talent will continue to increase. For those with physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and rehabilitation specialisations, it’s an opportune time to find the right role.

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