Australian dietetics workforce in focus

Health Workforce Australia recently released Dietitians in Focus as part of its Australia’s Health Workforce Series. Here we have a summary of the key findings……

Less than half of those with a dietetics qualification were working as a dietitian
At the time of the 2011 census, approximately 6,200 Australians reported having a qualification as a dietitian, with 2,832 (45%) reporting that their occupation was as a dietitian. Another 378 (6%) worked in a related occupation where their dietetics qualification could be applied. Another 2,527 (41%) were working in an unrelated occupation, and 498 (8%) were employed in another health occupation. The report stated “This may be a result of people choosing to work in fields unrelated to their qualification, or people unable to find employment in their chosen field.”

Increase in the number of dietitians per 100,000 population
The number of dietitians per 100,000 population increased in each state in Australia between 2006 and 2011:

Number, age and gender and average weekly hours worked
From 2006 to 2011, the number of employed dietitians increased by almost 50% from 1895 to 2831. In 2006, 93.9% of Australia’s employed dietitians were female, and by 2011 this had risen to 94.6%. The average age of all dietitians employed in Australia in 2011 was approximately 35 years. In 2011, employed male dietitians worked an average of 39.1 hours per week, with females working 29.6 hours per week.

Country of birth
The 2011 census data shows that 78.1% of Australia’s employed dietitians were born in Australia, with 8 of these practitioners being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders.

Summary
Given that the numbers of dietitians as a ratio to the number of people in the Australian population has increased, as well as the fact that many dietitians are working in other occupations, you can expect a competitive jobs market for dietitians in the next few years. The Health Workforce Australia report also states “given the number of student commencements and completions compared with the size of the workforce, it could be expected more dietitians want to enter the workforce than are required to replace those leaving.”

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