Australia’s aged care sector continues to undergo major structural changes with the overall number of facilities increasing, which is creating demand for additional staff at all levels.
In the private sector, a number of aged care providers are expanding either by developing new facilities or acquiring additional facilities.
Clinical Care Coordinators/Managers are in incredibly high demand as employers balance the pressures of promoting Registered Nurses (RN) into these roles with the desire of employees to move up into Director of Nursing/Facility Manager roles.
At the RN level there is a shortage of people looking to move into aged care to fill the increasing number of vacancies being created. Graduating nurses prefer to work in an acute care environment.
Recruiting Physiotherapists for aged care providers in outer suburban and regional locations is also a challenge. Outsourcing has been one strategy used by aged care providers to overcome the shortage. This spike in demand is expected to continue as the industry moves towards consumer-directed care models. The same can be said for other allied health professionals such as Occupational Therapists and Podiatrists.
Midwives remain in demand the world over and Australia is no different. In Western Australia and the Northern Territory finding staff for remote locations is a particular challenge. Attractive salaries are being used to secure staff but retention remains an issue.
In the disability services sector, it was envisaged that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would significantly impact staffing in 2014. While the full NDIS roll out is yet to happen, when it does intense competition is expected amongst employers for Social Workers at all levels. Candidates in demand will include those with high-level disability support experience able to fill management roles. Overall, despite the increased demand for staff, salaries are expected to remain at current levels.
With major changes to the funding of social care programs and many up for review this year, roles in this market will be subject to flux. For example, the Asylum Seeker and Refugee programs were reorganised at the end of 2014. Staffing requirements are expected to continue and focus mainly on locums.