New figures released by the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) show that workers aged 26-35 now make up just over a quarter (25.8 percent) of workers, compared to 15.7 percent five years ago.
This reflects The Department of Health’s Aged Care Census (2021) which showed around half of all direct care workers (52 percent) are under 40 years, an increase from just 35 percent in 2016. Around one-third of in-home direct care workers are under the age of 40.
The findings were included in the ‘Frontline Insights from Aged Care Workers’ report which also revealed that men working in aged care are more likely to be satisfied with their working hours and conditions than women.
Based on responses from 172,000 aged care workers across Australia received between 2009 and 2022, the survey also found that more than 52 percent of aged care workers were born outside of Australia. For four in ten of those surveyed, English is not their first language.
ACWIC Interim CEO, Sarah McLelland, said that while previous data sets have focused on the number of workers leaving the aged care sector, this time 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.
“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.
“Alongside the data and insights, we have suggested actions that employers can take to improve employee satisfaction and retention rates.”
Unsurprisingly, the survey also showed that care workers are a selfless bunch.
The report showed the top reason people were drawn to work in aged care is the desire to interact with and care for, elderly people.
The report showed that the sector has also made improvements in retaining good workers, with 42 percent of those recently surveyed saying their employer retained ‘quality staff’, compared to 34 percent a decade ago.
But it also showed that workers felt there was still room for improvement.
The data, which was collated before the Federal Government approved funding for a 15% pay rise for care workers, revealed the most common reasons given by aged care employees for leaving the sector.
These included retirement, poor management and being underpaid.
While retirement was the number one reason for care workers seeking to leave their care organisation each year since 2018, poor management, being underpaid and excessive workload were cited as bigger contributing factors during the pandemic period.