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Aged care survey gives insight into workforce

The aged care workforce is older than the national average, generally in good health and has high levels of post-school education and training according to the 2016 National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey.

A workforce survey shows there are many career opportunities across the sector that can make a meaningful difference to the lives of older Australians (Source: Shutterstock)
A workforce survey shows there are many career opportunities across the sector that can make a meaningful difference to the lives of older Australians (Source: Shutterstock)

It also revealed nearly 90 percent of the PAYG residential and home support direct care workforce is female and an estimated 44,879 volunteers worked in home care and home support in the designated fortnight.

Over 4,500 facilities and outlets and more than 15,000 aged care workers responded the survey commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and undertaken by the National Institute of Labour Studies (NILS) research team at Flinders University.

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), Chief Executive Officer Sean Rooney says the report provides valuable insights into the aged care workforce and generally speaking most of the results and indicators are encouraging.

“Overall the snapshot of the sector is encouraging with improved working conditions providing a stable and committed workforce,” he says. “While the report highlights there are some negative perceptions about careers in aged care, within the industry, there are many genuine career opportunities across the sector that can make a meaningful difference to the lives of older Australians."

Mr Rooney says aged care professionals derive a sense of satisfaction from the positive benefits they bring to those they are caring for, they find their careers satisfying and value the career opportunities the sector provides.

“We need to create more awareness that working in aged care can be a very rewarding career pathway, both personally and professionally,” he says highlighting the low proportion of age care professionals under the age of 35.

“The reported median age for residential aged care workers now 46 years and home care workers at 52 years,” he says. “We already know that an estimated 60 per cent of the existing workforce will reach retirement age over the next 15 years. These workers not only need to be replaced, but our aged care workforce needs to rapidly increase to meet the growing demand for different types of services.

By 2050, it is estimated that Australia will need up to 1.3 million aged care workers. Mr Rooney believes the next generation of aged care professionals will need to be responsive, knowing that we have a new cohort of older Australians with broader expectations of how, where, and by whom, their care is delivered.

“Professionals will also need to be adaptive, with technology likely to significantly impact on the type of care and services that are delivered and the training and skills required of the workforce,” he adds. 

Visit the Department of Health website to download the survey. 

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