Understanding the factors influencing health-worker employment decisions in South Africa

George, Gavin and Gow, Jeff and Bachoo, Shaneel (2013) Understanding the factors influencing health-worker employment decisions in South Africa. Human Resources for Health, 11 (1). pp. 15-21.

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Background: The provision of health care in South Africa has been compromised by the loss of trained health workers (HWs) over the past 20 years. The public-sector workforce is overburdened. There is a large disparity in service levels and workloads between the private and public sectors. There is little knowledge about the nonfinancial factors that influence HWs choice of employer (public, private or nongovernmental organization) or their choice of work location(urban, rural or overseas). This area is under-researched and this paper aims to fill these gaps in the literature.
Method: The study utilized cross-sectional survey data gathered in 2009 in KwaZulu-Natal province. The HWs sample came from three public hospitals (n=430), two private hospitals (n=131) and one nongovernmental organization hospital (n=133) in urban areas, and consisted of
professional nurses, staff nurses and nursing assistants.
Results: HWs in the public sector reported the poorest working conditions, as indicated by participants' self-reports on stress, workloads, levels of remuneration, standard of work premises, level of human resources and frequency of in-service training. Interesting, however, HWs in the nongovernmental organization sector expressed a greater desire than those in the public and private sectors to leave their current employer.
Conclusions: To minimize attrition from the overburdened public-sector workforce and the negative effects of the overall shortage of HWs, innovative efforts are required to address the causes of HWs dissatisfaction and to further identify the nonfinancial factors that influence work choices of HWs. The results highlight the importance of considering a broad range of nonfinancial incentives that encourage HWs to remain in the already overburdened public sector.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2013 George et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - School of Accounting, Economics and Finance
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2013 01:21
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2014 04:41
Uncontrolled Keywords: health workers; human resources for health; public sector; private sector; nongovernmental organization sector; KwaZulu-Natal; South Africa
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140213 Public Economics-Public Choice
14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140208 Health Economics
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9102 Microeconomics > 910208 Micro Labour Market Issues
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/1478-4491-11-15
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/23402

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