Australia’s care industry is grappling with a worse-than-expected labor shortage crisis with a projected shortfall of more than 200,000 full-time workers by 2050, according to a ‘secret’ report compiled by the previous Liberal government.
The government Care staff labor market study The report projects that 531,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions will need to be filled by 2050, but the country will be short of 211,400 FTE positions.
With half of nursing staff expected to leave within the next three yearsAustralia’s aging population and shrinking labor supply are likely to increase the challenges.
The gap jumps to 285,800 individual workers on a headcount basis taking into account the actual number of employees needed to meet the average working hours of part-time or casual roles.
Skill level 4 occupations – elderly and disabled caregivers, nursing aides and orderlies – will apparently be the hardest hit by future labor supply problems.
The report was initiated by the Liberal government in March 2021 and finalized in September 2021, however, Scott Morrison’s government reportedly kept it secret by not immediately releasing the findings.
Labor Government Skills Minister Brendan O’Connor released an updated version of the report on Monday, revealing there is a projected short-term shortfall of 100,000 older, disabled and mental health workers by 2028.
“This was kept secret because the Liberal government wanted to avoid dealing with the growing crisis facing care workers, particularly care for the elderly, care for the disabled and mental health care and support. said Minister O’Connor.
“Australians deserve to know the truth. Locking a report in a drawer will not fool Australians, who know there is a challenge ahead.
National Skills Commissioner Adam Boyton recently said that COVID-19 had impacted early findings from 12 months ago and that “forecast deviations would be both larger than expected and still emerging. faster than indicated in the study”.
The report also suggests “there is limited evidence of a significant shortage of labor in the care and support sector at the national level at present”, indicating instead that the existing problems stem low wages and skills shortages.
Concerns listed in the report include workers struggling with low average hours and salary below averagewhich in some cases is $523 less than the average Australian weekly income of $1,769.80.
Employers find it difficult to attract competent and qualified personnel, as well as experienced workers who must relocate for a position.
There is no “one size fits all” to address supply and demand issues, with “public perception, new articulations of job design and architecture, technology adoption and innovation rates” listed alongside economic improvement to support the care support workforce.
The government will fund a proposal for a salary increase for the elderly, who currently sits before the Fair Work Commission. The unions are demanding a 25% wage increase.
Minister O’Connor has stated that his priority is to establish the Australian jobs and skills to “accelerate improved workforce planning” for the care sector.