School of Population and Global Health

Postgraduate research profiles


Denise Sullivan

Phone: (+61 8) 9222 2403
Fax: (+61 8) 9222 4055


Start date

Sep 2006

Submission date

Dec 2015

Denise Sullivan

Denise Sullivan profile photo


Getting to know you: Attitudes and values of Generation Y public health graduates and implications for transition to work


Futurists have highlighted the challenge for employers in attracting and retaining the best and brightest minds in an increasingly dynamic and competitive employment market. Already some sectors, like health, are experiencing shortages of skilled labour exacerbated by an exponential increase in demand for services and changing expectations of the community and workforce.

In addressing future health workforce needs and how best to sustain an adequate and effective public health workforce, we must also consider the transition to work for new graduates. This is a crucial time offering exciting opportunities to apply knowledge and skills acquired over years of study. The realities and constraints of the workplace, however, can be daunting leading to disaffection for some and loss to other professions or career paths.

The aim of my research is to gain an understanding of what it is like for public health graduates entering the workforce in order to develop theories about their preparedness for work and induction into the workplace.

The study comprises qualitative research on their values, beliefs, motivations and expectations of work conducted pre- and post-graduation and entry into the workforce. The perspectives of educators, employers and representatives of peak associations will also be examined.

Why my research is important

This project seeks to contribute unique empirical research on Generation Y and their transition to work, specifically in health: a sector that it is predicted will have to work harder to recruit and retain new graduates over the next decade. Moreover, the project focuses on graduates destined to work in preventive health: a sub-group often overlooked in studies on the health workforce given the focus on clinical or acute care workforce needs.

This study has implications for curricula as well as vocational workplace attachments and induction of new graduates into an active and changing labour market.


  • Commonwealth-funded Higher Degree by Research


School of Population and Global Health

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