Physiotherapists' job satisfaction according to employment situation : findings from an online survey in Austria

Latzke, Markus, Putz, Peter, Kulnik, Stefan Tino, Schlegl, Constance, Sorge, Martina and Mériaux-Kratochvila, Silvia (2021) Physiotherapists' job satisfaction according to employment situation : findings from an online survey in Austria. Physiotherapy Research International, 26(3), e1907. ISSN (print) 1358-2267


Background and Purpose: Physiotherapists are commonly working in self‐employed, employed, or in combined employed and self‐employed work arrangements. This study aimed at examining aspects of job satisfaction and predictors of physiotherapists' overall job satisfaction across those three types of work arrangements. Methods: Austrian physiotherapists rated their overall job satisfaction as well as the importance and realisation of aspects of job satisfaction in a cross‐sectional online survey. Multiple linear regression was used to identify predictors of overall job satisfaction, and (for employed therapists only) predictors for planning to change the employer. Results: The sample consisted of 581 physiotherapists working in the public or private sector, of which, 342 were self‐employed, 100 employed, and 139 both employed and self‐employed. Physiotherapists generally indicated high job satisfaction with notable variations according to their work arrangements. Overall job satisfaction and the aspects of recognition and autonomy were higher in self‐employed therapists, when compared to the other two groups. In contrast, self‐employed therapists reported lower satisfaction with mentoring and peer support. Those who were both employed and self‐employed reported the highest gap between the importance and realisation of their work–life balance (r = −0.50, p < 0.001). Recognition was identified as the most important predictor of job satisfaction (ß = 0.52, p < 0.001) and intention to leave (ß = −0.54, p < 0.001) in employed physiotherapists. Discussion: The analysis of job satisfaction according to work arrangements suggests several approaches to increase or maintain a high level of job satisfaction, which may be addressed by employers and physiotherapy professional organisations. For employed physiotherapists, practices that increase their recognition and autonomy seem to be promising, whereas self‐employed physiotherapists could benefit from enhanced opportunities for exchange and networking with colleagues. For those who are both employed and self‐employed, more flexible work schedules may be helpful to integrate the demands of private patients and employer workloads.

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