The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has supported the call by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) for action to address Australia’s high levels of gender segregation in industries including aged care.
Libby Lyons, Chair of ACWIC, said that the CEDA report rightly highlights the problems with perceptions of care work as ‘women’s work’.
“It is no coincidence that in the aged care workforce, nine out of 10 employees are women. The majority perform essential and rewarding yet low-paid caring roles, with limited opportunities for career progression.
“We are experiencing a workforce crisis in aged care. We need more people to join the sector – and to be paid a decent wage when they do,” she said.
According to CEDA, flexibility has become the highest priority for Australian jobseekers, overtaking compensation.
Lyons said that leading aged care employers are already developing creative employee value propositions to attract workers, offering flexible conditions that better meet workers’ needs and preferences.
“The best aged care providers are also creating viable career pathways and meaningful jobs that retain workers for the longer term to provide high quality, person-centred care. We now need to all employers in the sector to follow suit,” she said.
Lyons added that ACWIC wholeheartedly supports the recent addition of the equal remuneration principle to the Fair Work Act, which will help the Fair Work Commission issue pay increases to workers in low-paid, female-dominated industries.
“Improving wages in sectors that have been historically undervalued, such as aged care, will help to close the gender pay gap and increase the pool of potential workers.
“We simply cannot meet the needs of our ageing population if we do not make the aged care sector a more attractive place to work for both women and men.
“We will continue to work with Government to address the critical shortage of aged care workers, and to equip the aged care workforce to deliver the care that older people, their families and carers expect.”
Media release from Aged Care Workforce Industry Council. Note: Content has been edited for style and length.