Employment experiences of immigrant workers in aged care in regional South Australia
Citation: Goel K, Penman J. Employment experiences of immigrant workers in aged care in regional South Australia. Rural and Remote Health (Internet) 2015; 15: 2693. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au/articles/subviewnew.asp?ArticleID=2693 (Accessed 24 October 2017)
Purpose: The contributions of immigrant workers to the aged care workforce cannot be overemphasised. The report of the National Institute of Labour Studies records a significant number of immigrants in the aged care industry in Australia. The number of overseas-born workers in the residential aged care sector had risen steadily, according to recent workforce statistics. However, the employment positions these immigrant workers fill have perennially been labelled as low-paying and low-status, warranting more research into the plight of immigrant workers, especially those in regional areas. This study investigates the current employment experience of immigrant workers working in aged care in regional South Australia.Key words: aged, immigrant workers, regional, work satisfaction.
Methods: This qualitative study is based on a focus group consisting of seven immigrant workers (five personal carers, one home support worker and one allied health assistant), who shared their individual perceptions of their employment experience. The workers were employed by three aged care facilities run by a community-based not-for-profit organisation governed by one incorporated body. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the focus group data. This article reports on part of the findings of a larger research study where the authors have included the perceptions of co-workers and managers about working with immigrant workers.
Results: This study reveals mixed experiences of immigrant workers with employment in aged care. Satisfaction came from positive and encouraging client feedback, enriching work experience, flexible hours and simply having a job. Dissatisfaction came from constraints with time, workload, staffing, poor peer relations, discriminatory practices and the nature of the job itself. Immigrant workers do not experience a strong support infrastructure. Limitations of the study include the small sample size used and the focus on one regional city.
Conclusions: This study suggests that aged care facility managers and executive officers can enhance positive work experience of immigrant workers by making some workplace reforms.
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