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Aged Care Recruitment: Push for more workers

September 8, 2021 0 Comments

An ageing population and pressure on governments to improve the aged care sector means that there will be more aged care recruitment in the coming decade.

Our elderly are important treasures of our community, deserving a respectful degree of care as they age – and the care we show for them is a reflection of us as a society.

At present, we have an aged care sector that has been in the spotlight for many not-so-positive reasons, both under the glare of the Royal Commission into Aged Care and due to the unfortunate outbreaks of COVID-19 that occurred during the pandemic. The positive to come out of this is that there is a strong feel for change in the aged care sector that means our ageing mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and other loved ones are likely to receive much better care possible under the watch of skilled healthcare professionals.

Given that our population is ageing, something flagged by the federal government nearly 10 years ago, this means there will need to be a large investment in aged care recruitment sooner rather than later. More recently, the Productivity Commission conducted a report into ‘Caring for Older Australians’ that supported this, finding that by 2050 more than 3.5 million Australians would require aged care services.

Transforming the aged care sector

To attract more healthcare professional talent via aged care recruitment to the sector, there needs to be significant transformation.

A HESTA report – “The ‘State of the Sector Aged Care Workforce Insights: COVID and Beyond” – revealed that unless there was a concerted nationwide effort to improve both wages and conditions for the aged-care workforce, the sector would suffer decline, leading in turn to poor health outcomes for aged care residents.

It would appear the federal government was listening at least in part to these kinds of reports and the findings of the royal commission with its $17.7 billion boost to the sector in the 2021 Federal budget, including $216.7 million to upskill the aged care workforce. Added to this was government-supported training to open up an additional 33,800 places in courses and $91.8 million to train an additional 13,000 home-care workers.

However, many in the sector see this as just the beginning of addressing long-term structural and funding issues in the sector, with peak groups, such as the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF), making their cases loud and clear.

In March 2021, the ANMF called on the federal government to improve staff ratios to ensure there are sufficient nursing and other care staff present at all times. The organisation believed that enshrining these ratios in law was critical to ensure chronic understaffing became a thing of the past.

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Public support is high for reform to aged care recruitment

Those advocating for improved wages and conditions, and more aged care recruitment, will be heartened by research by The Conversation conducted in September 2020.

Following the aged care royal commission’s finding that a 1% levy on personal income would cost the median taxpayer about $600 a year and boost funding to the aged care sector by $8 billion per year, it would appear, at least from The Conversation’s research, a measure like this would be supported by a majority of Australians.

Their survey of over 1000 Australians showed that a high majority (86%) agreed Australia needed more skilled workers in the sector and that 80% agreed they should be paid more. About the same amount agreed that nurses working in the sector should be paid the same as nurses working in the healthcare sector, something the ANMF will no doubt be happy to hear.

But, most importantly, 50% of those surveyed showed willingness to pay additional tax to improve the pay of aged care workers, with 70% happy with the idea of the royal commission’s proposal of 1%.

All this would suggest that healthcare professionals or those looking to retrain with an eye to moving into aged care have a potentially bright future as wages and conditions improve, and the workforce expands. If you’re looking at a career in aged care, Gorilla can help! Reach out to us today and start your journey caring for our wonderful senior citizens.

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We love what we do at Gorilla Jobs, and while there are challenges, we are always ready to help you as a candidate or recruiting organisation to ensure the best talent ends up in the best jobs. Reach out to us today if you have any questions!