A new report released by the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has revealed that young Australians are increasingly entering the aged care workforce, with male workers more likely to be satisfied with their working hours and conditions than women.
Titled Frontline Insights from Aged Care Workers, the report is based on data collected from 2009 to 2022 and highlights 12 key insights into the aged care workforce based on 172,000 workplace survey responses from across the country.
This marks a shift in focus from previous data sets, which have largely focused on the number of workers leaving the aged care sector. Instead, the ACWIC sought to establish the most common reasons why aged care workers choose to work in the sector, and how they feel about their employment.
Interim CEO of ACWIC, Sarah McLelland, said the report would support employers in the aged care sector to make evidence-based decisions to support workforce retention and attraction and thereby build a sustainable workforce.
“Aged care providers are facing the rising challenge of developing and maintaining a workforce to meet the growing demands of an ageing population,” McLelland said.
“This resource will enable the sector to gain a deeper understanding of how their employees feel about their roles, what attracts people to work in aged care, and the most common reasons why they leave.”
The report revealed that male workers were more likely to see their pay as fair, with 55.5% of males surveyed reporting this compared to 47.6% of women. The aged care workforce is also getting younger, with workers aged 26-35 now making up just over a quarter (25.8%) of workers, compared to 15.7% five years ago.
However, some concerning findings were also highlighted, with the three most common reasons given by recently-surveyed aged care employees for leaving their current employer being retirement, poor management and being underpaid. More than 52% of aged care workers surveyed reported being born outside of Australia, and for 42% English is not their first language.
Despite these challenges, the report showed that the sector has made improvements in retaining good workers, with 42% of those recently surveyed saying their employer retained ‘quality staff’, compared to 34% 10 years ago.
“I encourage all aged care providers to use the Frontline Insights from Aged Care Workers to inform their workforce planning, and support their current employees to ensure they can continue to deliver quality care to older Australians,” McLelland said.
Access to the Frontline Insights and Aged Care Census Database is available for free for a limited time via the ACWIC website.