Self-perceptions and actual employment patterns amongst recent Australian dental graduates

Rebecca J. Penco, Hanh T.T. Ngo, Camile S. Farah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: With nine dental schools across Australia graduating over 500 dental students each year, in addition to nearly 200 overseas-qualified dentists entering the workforce, dental students are anecdotally advised that they are joining a profession ubiquitous with workforce oversupply. The aim of this study was to shed light on the employment patterns of recent dental graduates from Australian universities and their self-perceptions of the job market. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional pilot study involved an online survey conducted in 2017 on recent dental graduates from all Australian dental schools. Graduates’ demographics, their perception of the dental employment prospects, their employment-related behaviours and employment outcomes, and the relationships between these variables were explored. Results: Data on seventy-one survey respondents (approximately 12% of the total sampling frame) were analysed. They suggested that recent Australian dental graduates are seeking work (73.2%) and undertaking work experience (54.9%) prior to graduation, successfully finding employment within the first-year post-graduation (97%), yet not always in their perceived ideal workplace environment (42.2%). Relationships between age, perception of market competitiveness and job searching patterns were revealed. Graduates expressed a desire for more workplace mentorship. The small sample size of this study limits the generalisability of the results, indicating that further research is required. Conclusions: The dental employment landscape appears to have adequate employment opportunities for recent dental graduates, yet not always in their perceived ideal workplace environment. Graduates are seeking more mentorship in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-277
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Dental Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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