One in four. That is the proportion of new jobs that will be in community services and health over the next five years, according to a new report. This means employers will need to find enough qualified people to fill some 230,000 positions.
The 2015 Environmental Scan by the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council, which sets training standards for the industry, says the positions are needed to care for the rising number of people at both ends of life, and in between with a mental illness.
It reports that the number of disabled elderly Australians is growing fast and predicted to hit 4.1 million by 2051, quadrupling the size of the aged care workforce from 350,000 to 1.3 million workers. Meanwhile, demand for mental health services is set to rise between 135 per cent and 160 per cent in little over a decade, requiring almost 9,000 extra mental health professionals to meet it.
Consequently, the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council predicts demand will be strongest even in the near term for aged and disabled workers, with an additional 40,900 related positions to be filled between 2013 and 2018.
Nearly 37,000 extra registered nurses will be required in that time, with nursing support and personal care workers (13,500), and welfare support workers (10,800) also in high demand by employers.
According to the council’s report, the population of very young Australians is also expected to increase in the next few decades. With the number of children aged under five marching toward 2.2 million by 2031 and 2.6 million by 2051, an additional 21,600 child care and 15,100 education aides will be needed in the next few years alone.
The coming jobs boom continues a decade-old upward trend in demand for community services and health workers. Industry employment has posted an average annual growth rate of 3.8 per cent over the past 10 years, compared to 2 per cent across all industries. The industry is already the nation’s biggest employer, its 1.4 million workers accounting for 12 per cent of the total workforce.