HEALTHY FU­TURE IN CAR­ING

Me­lanie Burgess finds job sat­is­fac­tion is not this field’s only re­ward

The Courier-Mail - Career One - - News & Advice -

HEALTH sec­tor salaries have risen by up to 40 per cent in the past five years, as de­mand out­paces sup­ply. SEEK data re­veals the av­er­age ad­ver­tised salary for Aus­tralian health­care and med­i­cal roles is $88,722 – up 6.8 per cent since 2013. The largest salary growth is in the op­ti­cal sub-sec­tor, where roles of­fer 39.5 per cent more than five years ear­lier, and now av­er­age $87,642 a year. It is fol­lowed by den­tal ($75,453), pathol­ogy ($76,152), and psy­chol­ogy, coun­selling and so­cial work ($83,260), which all have ex­pe­ri­enced about 20 per cent growth.

Salary growth typ­i­cally stems from in­creased de­mand for skills.

TAFE Queens­land Gold Coast Com­mu­nity Ser­vices and Health and nurs­ing fac­ulty di­rec­tor Deb­bie Blow says an ageing pop­u­la­tion and in­creas­ing mental health di­ag­noses are driv­ing the need for work­ers.

“The 75-plus age group is the fastest-grow­ing in the coun­try,” she says.

“That’s our big­gest area and within that you’ve got lay­ers such as de­men­tia and mental health. Pro­ject­ing for the next two decades sug­gests we are go­ing to dou­ble the in­ci­dents of de­men­tia and mental health, which cre­ates a whole other set of skills, jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

The Hays Jobs Re­port fore­casts in­creased de­mand for mental health pro­fes­sion­als such as so­cial work­ers, mental health prac­ti­tion­ers and nurses, gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers and coun­sel­lors.

“(Those) with ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with young peo­ple in the area of sui­cide preven­tion and mental health are needed,” it states.

“More pro­grams to heighten aware­ness of this is­sue have led to in­creased de­mand for qual­i­fied pro­fes­sion­als.”

The re­port re­veals a short­age of reg­is­tered nurses in aged care as most grad­u­at­ing nurses prefer to work in acute care or a hos­pi­tal. It is de­spite SEEK data show­ing the third high­est-pay­ing nurs­ing roles are in aged care ($94,013 a year).

Nurs­ing jobs with the strong­est salary growth are in com­mu­nity, ma­ter­nal and child health (up 18.2 per cent in five years), psy­chol­ogy, foren­sic and cor­rec­tional health (14.1 per cent) and high acu­ity (13.9 per cent).

“We want to en­cour­age young peo­ple into the sec­tor but it’s also a great op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple who want to change ca­reer,” Blow says. “In nurs­ing, aged care and dis­abil­ity, one of the re­ally great things ma­ture-age peo­ple can bring is life ex­pe­ri­ence, which is un­der­es­ti­mated by peo­ple.”

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