Visualising the healthcare workforce of the future

According to the Department of Health, Australia will have around 123,000 nurses less than it needs by 2030. Amidst all the changes, pressures and population growth taking place, it's essential that the healthcare sector acts quickly to ensure it has the staff it will need to be sustainable. What will it take to fill that talent gap and respond to the future health environment in Australia?

The healthcare workforce is being shaped by a range of different factors.The healthcare workforce is being shaped by a range of different factors.

What will the future healthcare workforce look like?

While a staffing shortage is perhaps the most pressing challenge, it is not the only factor – there are a number of other trends shaping the upcoming medical workforce. A recent survey conducted by Oxford Economics and SAP identifies five of the biggest shifts affecting the healthcare market:

  • With a growing number of millennials entering the workforce, 53 per cent of survey respondents thought this development would have a big impact. 
  • Just over half of respondents highlighted the way that talent can now be sourced globally as affecting workforce planning.
  • Meanwhile, 48 per cent of healthcare executives said they were having trouble hiring staff with basic skills.
  • Consultant employees are becoming more common, cited by 42 per cent of respondents.
  • Likewise, 41 per cent said there is also a growing amount of contingent employees in the health workforce. 

Workforce planning takes time, so the healthcare industry must start pursuing sustainability now.

Planning ahead is essential for a sustainable health workforce

In response to these developments, it's important to align healthcare workforce planning with the needs of the Australian population and the demand for quality health services. Professor Geoffrey Dobb, Vice President of the Australian Medical Association, says that the key is collaboration across all levels of the industry, and it must happen quickly. 

"There needs to be unprecedented cooperation and coordination – between all levels of government, and between all key medical training stakeholders – to build a highly trained medical workforce in appropriate numbers to serve the future health needs of the Australian community," he explains

"Planning for training our future medical workforce must aspire to maximum efficiency, sufficient funding, equity of access to medical services for all Australians, self-sufficiency in medical workforce supply, and an appreciation of global medical workforce trends. It takes time to train a high-quality medical workforce – planning for the future must start now."

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