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ESSA releases new National Workforce Profile Report

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has developed a National Workforce Profile Report which provides a range of new insights into its accredited exercise professionals, utilising data from the 2022 member renewal process.

Anita Hobson Powell, ESSA CEO, said the industry was in a growth phase with the number of accredited members growing by an average of 10-12% per year for the past few years.

“It is pleasing to see more opportunity for our professions, especially those that are well placed to help address the rise in chronic conditions impacting so many Australians,” she said.

“Increase in demand for services from exercise physiologists and exercise scientists are early signs of a shift in thinking towards engagement of a workforce focused on prevention and wellbeing.

“New models of care with this focus should offer even more opportunity for the involvement of our professions in different kinds of health service delivery.”

The report is a valuable resource which will help better understand the make-up of the diverse national workforce, identify gaps and also opportunities, to inform priorities at the local level.

There is increasing demand from stakeholders for workforce data to assist in decision making to meet future population health needs and this report, the first of its kind produced by ESSA, will guide that process.

The report considers demographic make-up, workplace location, client populations, common areas of practice, and funding sources for the delivery of services.

Key points

  • Nationally, the average age of accredited exercise professionals in Australia is 32 years of age and 54.3% of the clients they help are aged 18-64.
  • ¼ of all accredited exercise professionals work in private allied health clinics
  • ¼ of all clients being serviced live with musculoskeletal injuries and conditions
  • 64% of accredited exercise professionals assist vulnerable and marginalised communities
  • The average working week of accredited exercise professionals is 33 hours
  • Just under 80% of accredited exercise professionals work in major cities, 20% in regional areas and less than 1% work in remote areas.
  • Medicare, private health insurance & NDIS funding schemes are those most accessed by accredited exercise professionals.
  • The location of accredited exercise professionals is broadly consistent with the distribution of the Australian population, though over-represented in the ACT and under-represented in VIC and TAS
  • The distribution of accredited exercise professionals is similar to the results from the 2022 Allied Health Professional Association (AHPA) annual member survey.

To access the full report, head to the relevant Industry reports page at: National Workforce Profile Report (

Taken from Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Media Release on 14 March 2023.

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