COVID-19 has thrown some a professional curveball but also opened up future job prospects, and aged care work should be in the mix. Here’s why!
It’s not news to anyone that Australia has an ageing population, which of course means that moving forward, aged care work will figure prominently in the healthcare sector.
By 2050, the number of people over the age of 85 will be 1.8m, an increase of nearly half a million from 2018. This has massive implications for Australia, particularly for the economy, but also for those who work in healthcare. The shift means there will inevitably be greater pressure on general practitioners, nurses, surgeons, paramedics etc as a burgeoning elderly population requires more regular and ongoing care and assistance. But with it also comes a shift towards providing quality of life for the ageing population, which is where aged care work becomes so critical.
The (Im)Perfect Aged-Care Storm
At present, Australia faces a shortage of qualified aged care workers and other health professionals who specialise in geriatric medicine and care. Place this alongside the gradual rollout of the NDIS, and with it the need for a huge personal care workforce, and there is a perfect storm brewing in the care sector more generally.
And, of course, let’s not forget COVID-19, which added even more ferocity to this storm to the point where the Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians, Richard Colbeck, lifted restrictions on international student nurses being allowed to work increased hours in the sector to relieve the huge demand for aged care workers.
However, this storm might be something you as a healthcare professional chooses to wade into, shifting your focus to aged care work to help shore up a sector that has an ever-increasing need for qualified professionals.
More Aged Care Work Professionals Needed
The Department of Jobs and Small Business surveyed employers, with the results backing the increasing demand and Ian Neville, the department’s labour market analyst, pointing to the recent growth in aged care work as a sign of things to come.
“Our projections to 2023 suggest that employment for personal care workers will increase by 80,600, or nearly 30 percent over that five-year period,” Ivan said. “Aged and disabled carers are projected to increase by 69,200 jobs while nursing support and personal care workers are projected to increase by 11,400 over the period.”
Registered and enrolled nurses (RNs and ENs) are two professional components of the aged care work force where there will potentially be the greatest demand, particularly in outer regional, rural and remote communities.
As well as allocating more funding to caring for our ageing population, the Federal government is also trying to take the front foot with its Aged Care Workforce Strategy, with which it hopes to change perceptions of working in a sector that has struggled to attract more workers.
Are We Acting Fast Enough to Expand our
Aged Care Work Force?
However, a report published in June 2020 in the Medical Journal of Australia points to damning data that not enough is being done.
The report states that nearly 60% of residents in aged care homes face unacceptable staffing levels, which comes on the back of declines in healthcare workers in the sector dropping - RNs dropped from 21% in 2003 to 14.6% in 2016, and ENs dropped from 14.4% to 9.3%.
What this all means for you as a health professional is that it represents a great opportunity for those who want to be a part of this important sector to either retrain or, if already qualified, move sideways into aged care work roles.
Our elderly are so important to us and the crucial aged care work sector needs more dedicated, caring professionals, so if you’re looking for a career change or pivot, this sector should be a prime target for you & Gorilla Jobs’ consultants are happy to chat, contact us now for a confidential conversation.
Times are changing & so is the age structure of our population.