Factors influencing workplace location choices for Allied Health professionals: A systematic review

Ms Anna Couch1, Dr Jennifer White2, Dr Deborah Russell2, Prof Hylton Menz3, Prof Terrence Haines2, Dr Cylie Williams1,2

1Peninsula Health, Frankston, Australia, 2Monash University, Frankston, Australia, 3La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia


Aim: To determine what factors influence recruitment and retention of Allied Health professionals in metropolitan, rural and remote locations.

Method: Four electronic databases were searched for published studies (earliest date available to February 2018) that identified factors relating to work place location and job satisfaction for allied health professionals. Risk of bias was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.  Results were summarised as positive or negative factors relating to recruitment or retention.

Results: There were 21 studies that met inclusion criteria. Extracted data was synthesized into subthemes; 1. Opportunities for career development, 2. Clinical load, 3. Organisational and workplace structure, 4. Previous location exposure, 5. Personal factors. There were 11 studies that reported organisational/workplace structure and personal factors positively impacted recruitment. There were ten studies that found organisational and workplace structure also had a negative impact on retention. Career opportunities were also found to have positive impacts on recruitment, while lack of opportunity affected retention.  Previous location exposure had a positive impact on recruitment however had limited impact on retention, similarly a diverse clinical load was attractive for recruitment but unmanageable caseloads affected retention. Two studies identified financial incentives as positive drivers for recruitment.

Significance of the findings to allied health:

Health care organisations should continue to offer ongoing opportunities for career development, professional support including working within a multidisciplinary team and a diverse clinical load for recruitment and retention. The opportunity to work close to family and friends is also a key influence affecting workplace location choices.


Anna Couch graduated from La Trobe University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Health Sciences/ Masters of Podiatric practice. She completed her graduated year at the Royal Melbourne Hospital working as a member of the Diabetic Foot Unit. Anna now works as a podiatrist at Peninsula Health and Kingston Foot Clinic. Anna has worked on multiple projects across her different employment settings. Key successes include integrating prescribing rights into the podiatry department at Peninsula Health and working as the research assistant for the PAIGE: Podiatrists in Australia Investigating Graduate Employment project. Anna has recently enrolled in a Masters of Philosophy at Monash University.