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New Publications

27 August 2020

Strengths, challenges, and future directions for the non-government alcohol and other drugs workforce

Victoria Kostadinov, Ann M. Roche, Alice McEntee, Vinita Duraisingam, Sianne Hodge & Janine Chapman


Objective: To identify strengths and challenges faced by alcohol and other drug (AOD) non-government (NGO) workers in New South Wales (NSW), Australia to inform future workforce planning initiatives.

Methods: An online survey assessed workers’ demographics, organizational characteristics, health and wellbeing.

Results: Respondents (N = 294) were mainly female (66.7%), 15.3% identified as lesbian, gay, homosexual, or queer, 8.4% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and 42.5% reported AOD lived experience. A third (34.4%) were ≥50 years, 40.3% had <5 years AOD-related experience, 42.0% had clinical supervision access, and half (55.1%) reported that their organization provided professional development support practices. Satisfaction working in the AOD NGO sector (66.0%) and work/life balance (58.5%) was high, as was turnover intention (31.4%), job insecurity (30.3%), and dissatisfaction with remuneration (67.8%). Most (76%) full-time workers earned below the national average wage.

Conclusions: Large proportions of older workers and young/inexperienced workers necessitate specific workforce planning and development action. Professional development and supervision access are priority areas for remediation. High turnover intention rates, potentially reflecting job insecurity or remuneration dissatisfaction, require strategies to increase workforce attraction, and retention in this sector.


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