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Australia’s ageing population and the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is increasing the demand for personal care workers.
Finding suitable applicants in an environment of increasing demand and high recruitment activity is a key challenge for employers in the aged and disability care sectors.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business undertook an extensive survey of employers, looking at their experiences recruiting and retaining personal care workers.
The department’s labour market analyst, Ivan Neville, said Australia’s ageing population and the introduction of the NDIS were responsible for a substantial growth in the sector over the past decade.
“Our projections to 2023 suggest that employment for personal care workers will increase by 80,600, or nearly 30 per cent over that five year period,” Ivan said.
“Aged and disabled carers are projected to increase by 69,200 jobs while nursing support and personal care workers are projected to increase by 11,400 over the period. This compares with the department’s projected growth of 7.1 per cent for all occupations.”
The survey revealed high recruitment activity with nine out of 10 employers having recruited in the preceding six months.
“Three quarters of all vacancies in employers’ most recent recruitment round were filled,” Ivan said.
“The most common reason for unfilled vacancies was a lack of suitable applicants. Aside from a lack of qualifications and experience, many employers said that applicants’ lack of communication skills and availability for work were an issue.”
Employers in the industry used a diverse range of recruitment methods. While recruitment websites were most commonly used, there was also a high reliance on less formal recruitment methods, such as word-of-mouth, job seekers approaching employers and social media.
Employers were more likely to say that personal qualities, such as people skills, work ethic and communication skills, were more important than either qualifications or experience when considering applicants for their positions.
The survey was conducted across Australia in September-October 2017.