As the aged care sector evolves at lightening pace a number of unique recruitment challenges have emerged.
And with aged care booming, it is clear that the industry is set to become a huge employer in Australia. In fact, according to a Hesta report titled Transforming Aged Care, by 2050 the aged care workforce will grow to almost one million! While this might seem like many years away for now, the aged care recruitment challenges are already being faced.
So what are these aged care recruitment challenges that the sector is increasingly tackling? Let’s look at four of them:
Aged care recruitment challenges
1. Access to a highly skilled workforce.
In the aforementioned Hesta report, as many as 80,000 people currently working in the aged care sector may leave in the next five years. Why? Just shy of 50% of them name a desire to develop new skills as their reason.
Stagnation in training and development is a risk to an industry which needs to not only retain, but grow participation. As a result, education and training is becoming an important means to retain and develop staff within the aged care sector.
It also means carers can meet the new expectations required of aged care services.
For example, the increase in demand for programs which provide elderly residents with stimulating health-related activities led to the addition of our Certificate IV in Leisure and Health.
This qualification is designed around staff participating in the design, implementation and evaluation of leisure and health activities and programs for clients in a range of sector areas.
The Certificate IV in Disability caters to the growing need for aged care workers to possess skills and experience managing clients with disabilities in community settings as well as within homes.
Meanwhile, the Certificate III in Business Administration and Diploma of Leadership and Management provide administrative, strategic and leadership skills which can elevate staff to positions of seniority, or positions within other functions of a typical aged care business.
All these qualifications have been borne of the need to equip aged care employees with more advanced skills as well as provide incentives for growth.
Other challenges within aged care recruitment include:
2. An ageing workforce
If more than half of Australia’s aged care workforce is aged over 50 years, this could predict the potential for a serious staff shortage over the coming decades as current aged care workers head for retirement.
Effort needs to go toward two areas: retain older, experienced workers for longer AND attract younger employees.
Initiatives such as flexible working arrangements and improved technology/equipment may help retain older staff. Younger additions to the industry may be excited by new roles with clear career paths and the chance to upskill can go a long way.
3. Upskilling whilst working
For employers looking to provide further training to staff, another challenge is finding the best way to upskill without eating into productivity.
Training is time-consuming, and the cost of having staff away from their work is not a luxury all businesses can afford. For staff already working in the aged care industry, Selmar’s workplace training is an ideal delivery mode to upskill as it provides the opportunity to study and work at the same time.
Then there’s our virtual campus which provides another option to upskill without impacting into worktime. Through the virtual campus, students can complete training and coursework in their own time, via our online facility.
If ensuring a highly skilled workforce, with an even-split of ages is challenging in metropolitan areas, it’s even more difficult regional and remote areas.
Aged care businesses operating in regional and remote areas need to have a community-centric approach to their recruitment, which looks for opportunities within the area they operate to attract, retain and advance their employees.
Working together to combat aged care recruitment challenges
With the huge changes taking place at every level, it’s hoped that the industry will be viewed as an increasingly dynamic and rewarding place to grow one’s career, and together with aged care business this is our desired outcome.
As The Aged Care Roadmap puts it: The aged care sector must be considered a desirable and rewarding place to work with providers attracting and maintaining a well-led, flexible and responsive workforce. We are ready to make it happen.