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The Size and Structure of the Swiss Occupational Therapy Workforce.

At a glance



The shortage of skilled workers in the health professions is also present in occupational therapy. In order to determine the need for occupational therapists in the various regions and fields of practice in Switzerland, to plan study places and to make political decisions, empirical data on the number and structure of current occupational therapy jobs are important. Such data can both identify gaps in care provision and support the planning of measures to ensure that institutions have the right number of workers with the right skills available at the right time.


The aim of the study is to generate empirical data on the number and structure of occupational therapy workplaces in Switzerland, which have been lacking up to now.


As part of a consortium of the three universities ZHAW, HES-SO and SUPSI, the Swiss Occupational Therapists Association (EVS/ASE) and the Foundation for Occupational Therapy, the ZHAW Institute of Occupational Therapy Research Unit conducted an online survey in all language regions of Switzerland. The survey was aimed at: - Employers of occupational therapists, - heads of occupational therapy teams, - self-employed occupational therapists. The researchers collected data on the number and structure of occupational therapy workplaces in Switzerland - in terms of - socio-demographic characteristics, - their level of training, - the geographical and regional distribution of workplaces, - occupational therapy fields of practice, - as well as other topics. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics and regression analysis. In addition, the researchers described qualitative data - from open questions - narratively.


In total, data were collected from 968 respondents, covering 3'022 Swiss occupational therapists. The response rate was 73.6% for medical institutions and 58.2% for outpatient practices. The results are currently being analysed. Their publication is planned for the course of 2023.