Health a growing sector
Employment opportunities set to increase
AUSTRALIA’S population is aging, a fact that brings with it a double impact on our health care and social services sectors.
As older workers move into retirement, they take with them decades of valuable experience, reducing the collective skillset of the labour force.
As they move into retirement and then old age, they put their own pressures on the sector as their demand for services increases – demand which must be met by smaller and less experienced labour.
Given that two-pronged pressure, there is some relief in the continued strong employment growth over the past decade. It’s the largest employing industry in the country, accounting for almost 13% of total national employment, or some 1.5 million workers.
More than half a million of those workers are located outside state capitals, making the sector very important to the health of our regional communities.
Over the five years to November 2020, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, employment is expected to continue to increase strongly, adding more than 250,000 new jobs.
The industry’s workforce is female dominated, with most of the largest occupations having relatively small proportions of males employed. Looking at the sector overall, only 21% of workers are male.
It also has a slightly higher proportion of older workers than the average across all industries, with an industry average age of 43.
Workers in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry are generally highly skilled. A high proportion of workers are professionals, almost twice the average for all industries.
Our aging population, combined with increases in chronic health problems, are driving the demand for acute care services within the health system. At the front line, nurses could be one of the most heavily impacted industry sub-sectors as older workers move into retirement.
The average age of Australia’s nurses is increasing, with nearly one in four now aged 55 or older.
There are plenty of nursing graduates ready to step up into positions vacated through retirements, but they bring little to no experience.
How to combat that talent drain remains a large issue facing the health care sector, but one that ensures plenty of opportunities for those looking to start a career in the industry.
New jobs at Ergon
WORK has started on a $9m redevelopment of Ergon Energy’s Toowoomba office and depot, expected to create up to 30 construction jobs. Acting Energy Minister Jackie Trad said Hutchinson Builders had sourced local subcontractors to work on the project starting this week.
“It reflects our focus on delivering jobs in regional Queensland and providing safe and reliable electricity supplies to households and businesses across the state,” she said.
NEW data has shown continued increases in early education and care fees, with Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham saying it was clear the current system needs to be reformed.
“While we have reduced the increases in child care costs for Australian families as much as possible within the current system, we need to go further,” he said.
The average age of Australia’s nurses is increasing, with nearly one in four now 55 or older.
308,000 total employment for registered nurses, forecast to 2020 (source: Department of Employment)
OPPORTUNITIES: Health care remains the largest employing industry in the country, and still growing.