Profile of a peer worker

In 2013 Health Workforce Australia conducted the first national survey of peer workers. A total of 305 people responded to the online survey.

Here are some of the characteristics identified from this sample of peer workers:

Gender and Age

77% were female and the most common age group for all respondents was 50–54 years.

Lived experience

44% had lived experience of mental illness; 9% had supported a family member of friend; and the 46% had experience of both of these.

Years of experience in current job

35% had 3–5 years; 22% 1–2 years; 21% less than year; 12% 6–10 years and 10% over 10 years.

Employment type

53% worked part-time; 29% full time; 18% were casually employed. A total of 81% held permanent positions.


The vast majority held post-secondary school qualifications with 22% having a Certificate IV in Mental Health, 3% having a Certificate IV in Peer Work, and 91% holding other qualifications including qualifications in community services, disability services, aged care, nursing, social science, business administration, accounting, psychology, engineering and education.

Most rewarding thing

Approximately half the respondents indicated that the most rewarding thing about their job was using their lived experience to help others.