Health a grow­ing sec­tor

Em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties set to in­crease

Warwick Daily News - - LIFE - NATHAN WOULFE

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.

Early ed­u­ca­tion

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)

PHOTO: LIZA5450

OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES: Health care re­mains the largest em­ploy­ing in­dus­try in the coun­try, and still grow­ing.

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