Podiatry as a career in the UK - what attracts Generation Z? A qualitative exploration with university and college students

Deborah Whitham, Sophia Whitham, Marina Trowell, Simon Otter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Training for a career in podiatry is reported to provide graduates with excellent employability, alongside professional autonomy and suitable renumeration. Yet, there has been an ongoing decline in the number of those applying to study the subject. There is limited literature associated with this topic and we sought to explore the factors that attract ‘generation Z’ (those born 1995–2010) to a potential career in podiatry.

A qualitative design framework underpinned by phenomenological principles used four focus groups over a two-year period to generate data from participants at University and in Further Education. Focus group conversations were led by external facilitator, recorded, independently transcribed verbatim and anonymised prior to thematic analysis. This was followed by external, independent verification of themes.

Four main themes were determined from the analysis i) a lack of awareness of podiatry; ii) podiatry: accessible course, accessible career; iii) career status; iv) breadth/opportunity of the scope of practice. Both positive and negative experiences were reported and highlighted key gaps in how the attractiveness of a career in podiatry is portrayed.

The chronic lack of awareness of podiatry as a career clearly needs to be addressed, ideally with more positive role modelling in mainstream and popular media. The career status offered together with the breadth of, and opportunity associated with, the scope of practice should continue to be celebrated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s). 2021 Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.


  • Podiatry
  • Generation Z
  • Careers
  • Career


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