Aged care sector facing skills shortage
Australia’s ageing population presents a real opportunity for employment in the aged care industry. Australia’s population of individuals over 65 is expected to reach nearly 5 million by 2024, with 600,000 of those over the age of 85. Life expectancy has also increased considerably, with both men and women expected to live to be over 80, compared to just 75 in 1984.
As these numbers increase over time, there will be a real demand for qualified health professionals to support this ageing population.
However, recent research from McCrindle suggests that the aged care workforce itself is experiencing the same problems which are facing the country as a whole – employees are getting older.
In fact, McCrindle found that, of the 240,000 people in aged care employment, half would be retiring in the next 15 years, putting a greater strain on the workforce as it tries to cope with an ageing population.
The survey also found that employers in the health sector were among the most mature across a number of different industries. The average community aged care worker is now 50, whereas residential aged care workers have an average age of 48.
When you compare this to 38 years old for the construction sector and 37 for the national average, it is clear that the ageing workforce will take a considerable toll on the aged care sector itself. In fact, these industries have the highest average age of any industry.
Faced with these challenges, employers are expected to have much greater demand for aged care workers. McCrindle estimated that 78,000 workers will need to be employed in the next 10 years just to maintain the current ratio between carers and those over the age of 85.