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The 3 R’s of workforce development: Recruitment, reward, retention



  1. Ms Vinita Duraisingam, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University
  2. Dr Ken Pidd, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University
  3. Professor Ann M. Roche, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University
  4. Dr John OConnor, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University


There is widespread concern that the AOD sector faces significant difficulties in recruiting and retaining qualified staff to keep pace with the increasing demand for treatment services. This project examines the relationship between work practices and other factors that impact on job satisfaction, reward, burnout, recruitment, retention, and turnover of frontline AOD workers.


This study found that job autonomy was the strongest predictor of job satisfaction. Other factors predicting job satisfaction were workplace support, professional development opportunities, and low-levels of client-related pressure. Role overload was the leading predictor of stress level, with low job satisfaction the strongest predictor of turnover intention.

Top-ranked strategies for retaining workers included increased salaries, recognition and appreciation of effort, career and training opportunities, and more workplace support.

Barriers to recruitment included perceptions of low salary, poor benefits, difficult clients, stigma, and lack of respect for the field.

The report found that the AOD workforce appears to be faring quite well with the majority of those surveyed reporting relatively high levels of job satisfaction and relatively low levels of work stress.

The results of the study have been published together with a set of 15 booklets entitled Workforce Development TIPS5: Theory Into Practice Strategies, A Resource Kit for the Alcohol and Other Drugs Field which is also available on CDROM from NCETA.


Duraisingam, V, Pidd, K, Roche, AM & OConnor, J 2006 Stress, Satisfaction and Retention among Alcohol and Other Drug Workers in Australia. Adelaide: National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders University.
Duraisingam, V, Pidd, K & Roche, AM 2009 The impact of work stress and job satisfaction on turnover intentions: A study of Australian specialist alcohol and other drug workers. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 16(3), 217-231.
Pidd, K, Duraisingam, V & Roche, AM 2007 The relationship between work stress, job satisfaction, and turnover intention among Australian specialist alcohol and other drug workers. Better Work. Better Organisations. Better World. 7th Industrial / Organisational Psychology Conference (IOP) / 1st Asia Pacific Congress on Work and Organisational Psychology (APCWOP) 28 June – 1 July, Adelaide, South Australia.
Duraisingam, V, Roche, AM, Pidd, K & Pollard, Y 2006 Nurses: The backbone of the alcohol and other drugs field. Bridging Evidence and Practice Conference. Drug and Alcohol Nurses of Australasia (DANA), 21-23 June, Sydney, New South Wales.
Roche, AM 2006 Causes and cures: Stress and burnout amongst AOD workers. Western Australian Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies Sector Forum, 27 September, Perth, Western Australia.

Recent research papers

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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