Pacific Public Health Workforce Development Research: Survey of Organisations and Individuals

Pacific Public Health Workforce Development Research: Survey of Organisations and Individuals

31 Dec 2003

Report Summary
This report presents the results for the Pacific public health workforce, drawn from a series of three linked surveys. They covered public health organisations in New Zealand that contract with the Public Health Directorate of the Ministry of Health, and the employees of these organisations.

The data for these surveys was collected in the first half of 2004, while the numbers of employees and numbers of positions are all as at 1 January 2004.

A CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing) survey included 185 of the organisations, with a response rate of 95%.  Of these 14 were Pacific organisations.

A self-completion survey included 133 of the organisations, with a response rate of 64%. Nine Pacific organisations participated in this survey, representing a response rate of 64%.

A self-completion survey included 666 members of the public health workforce, with a response rate of 28%. There were 38 Pacific employees who participated, including those from non-Pacific organisations, but it is not possible to calculate a response rate for Pacific employees.

Profile of Pacific Public Health Organisations and their Employees
  • Over one half of all Pacific public health providers are located in the Northern region (62%).
  • Pacific organisations employ a larger proportion of Community Workers (29%) than other public health organisations (11%).
  • The vacancy rate in Pacific organisations is over double the rate in public health organisations in general, with 10 vacancies to 114 positions, a vacancy rate of 9%. The overall public health vacancy rate is 4%.

Public Health Programmes
  • The following programmes are implemented most frequently within Pacific organisations - Physical activity (50% of all Pacific providers), Sexual health (50%), Injury prevention (43%), Nutrition (43%), Well child (43%)

Public Health Issue Considered Most Important
  • Staffing issues are of most concern to Pacific organisations, both at present (50%) and in the future (50%).
  • Issues surrounding the training of staff (43%), more so than public health organisations overall (25%).
  • One third of Pacific employees cite issues over the Management of Staff, specifically the lack of support and the lack of career opportunities.

Experience, Recruitment, Satisfaction and Retention of Employees
  • There is a large concentration of Pacific employees (71%) who have worked in public health for between three and fifteen years.
  • Almost all of the Pacific people surveyed fall into the $0-$50,000 income bracket (94%), with 69% falling between $30,001 and $50,000.
  • The level of satisfaction (very satisfied or satisfied) with their current public health role is higher within the Pacific workforce (71%) than it is amongst the workforce overall (63%), but the difference is not significant.
  • Almost all of the surveyed Pacific workers value that they can make a difference (87%), significantly more so than the workforce in general (67%).
  • Pacific organisations as a whole find the following positions the most difficult to recruit for - Pacific Health Promotion Advisor (78% of those who recruit them), Pacific Community Worker (67%), Pacific Advisor (86%)
  • Pacific organisations identify similar recruitment issues as public health organisations in general.
  • General retention issues that are significantly more common within Pacific organisations include limited career opportunities for employees (29%) and uncertainty of long term funding (21%).

Qualifications And Training, Including Training Needs
  • Twenty-nine percent have a degree of some kind, fewer then the same proportion of employees overall (45%).
  • Pacific employees identify similar barriers to tertiary study as do the total public health workforce.
  • Computer training, Health Promotion Workshops and Pacific Cultural Training are all undertaken by a significantly higher proportion of Pacific people.
  • Cost is seen as the major barrier to non tertiary study by Pacific people (47%), as it is with tertiary study.
  • Pacific employees see a wide range of skills as important for their roles.
  • The skills rated as most important were generally those where the least up-skilling was seen as necessary, suggesting current training is being well targeted.
  • The following skills were identified by Pacific people as areas where most up-skilling is required - Policy development/policy analysis (88%), Contract management/negotiation (77%), Te Reo (76%), Health management (75%), Advocacy for healthy public policy (75%)

Responsiveness To Pacific Workforce
  • The specific measures to assess how organisations respond to the needs of their Pacific workforces are reported by only approximately a quarter of all public health organisations.


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