A recent Productivity Commission report into Caring for Older Australians found that over 3.5 million Australians will be using aged care services by 2050. As a result, ‘the aged care sector will need 1 million extra workers by 2050, which is a quadrupling of the current workforce.’1
The aged care advisor’s network also noted that ‘The aged care industry is on the verge of far-reaching change, with demographic, regulatory and financial forces uniting to reshape the way healthcare and support services are purchased, funded and managed’.2
Here are a few of the key reasons aged care is in demand in Australia.
#1 Ageing population
According to health.gov, ‘The number of people aged over 65 is predicted to increase from 3.8 million to 5.2 million by 2027’.3 Another study estimates that the 85+ population is expected to increase by 360% by the year 2044.4 The number of people who need the aged care service industry will continue to rise. 5
#2 Increased longevity
Australians are also living longer than ever before, thanks to health advancements. When Queen Elizabeth II first became sovereign, 40 letters were sent to Australians who turned 100. In 2018, over 2,600 people turned 100. In 2044, over 18,500 Australians are expected to turn 100.4 As the number of years spent in retirement increases, the need for aged care services will also increase.
#3 Ratio of Workers to Retirees
This ageing population will also increase demand across Australia’s labour force. Here’s what a study by McCrindle found:
‘In 1970, for every couple of retirement age there were 15 people in the working-age population, by 2010 there were just 10 people of working age for every couple of retirement age, and this is projected to decline to just 5 people of working age for every couple at retirement age by 2050.’5
In addition to greater demand, Australia’s future workforce may be concerned about how technological innovation could affect their jobs. However, technological change also creates job opportunities in care-focused roles.
#4 Technological Change vs Careers
Aged care and help service jobs usually involve non-routine tasks that are difficult to automate. Renee Leon, the secretary for the federal Department of Employment, discussed this change in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald:
‘Over the next five years, there will be tens of thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of jobs created in the caring sectors around community services and aged care and health care. This was creating personal care jobs that cannot be off-shored or automated and that will provide many entry-level and medium-skilled jobs for the workforces of the future.’6
As this career becomes more popular across the country, it will also change to meet consumers’ needs and preferences.
#5 Changing Care Preferences (The home-based care trend)
The government is moving ‘towards a market-based consumer-directed care model for the aged care industry, (so) consumer preferences will become increasingly important’.7 The biggest recent trends from baby boomers’ include:
- ageing at home,
- more personalised services, and
- higher levels of care.7
As a recent Deloitte report found:
‘there is an increasing emphasis on consumer choice in aged care. For example, a growing number of older Australians are choosing to “age in place” (i.e., at home) wherever possible… Where residential care is selected, providers are increasingly tailoring services to individual residents’ preferences, such as offering independent living arrangements, modern facilities and personalised care.’ 7
There is a clear desire for Australians to live in their own homes for longer, while still receiving the services they need to stay active and engaged. If you’d like to be employed in-home and community care, consider taking the ‘Home & Community’ specialisation with your Certificate III in Individual Support.
How Can I Learn More?
As millions of Australians step into retirement, they’ll need skills to assist and empower them to remain independent. Aged care support workers can provide these services and improve the quality of life of their clients. And, based on future trends, the need for caring, skilled workers will only continue to grow.
If you’d like to know more about a career in individual support, send us an enquiry. We’ll help you create your tomorrow, today.
7 Deloitte. (2016). Australia’s aged care sector | Deloitte Australia | Deloitte Access Economics report.