Care Workforce Labour Market Study

On 9 March 2021, the National Skills Commissioner, Adam Boyton, was tasked by the Prime Minister to undertake an in-depth study on the factors affecting the supply and demand of care workers both in the near term and longer term to 2050. The report is expected to be completed by September 2021, to inform the Australian Government’s care workforce strategy.

To assist with the inquiry, we will consult with interested parties and call for submissions. Further details of the scope of the inquiry, including the terms of reference and timelines will be available shortly.

As more information becomes available it will be added here. In the meantime, please contact contact@skillscommission.gov.au with specific questions.

Terms of Reference

Australia’s care and support sector provides essential services to some of Australia’s most vulnerable people and is amongst the fastest growing sectors in the Australian economy. Women make up the majority of the care and support sector workforce, with many engaged on a part-time and casual basis.

With continued growth in the NDIS and the ageing of the population overall, demand for workers in the sector is expected to continue to grow rapidly through to 2050.

However, labour shortages are emerging, and are more pronounced in regional and remote communities. Without sustained growth in the care and support workforce, particularly over the next 5 years, the sector’s capacity to provide much-needed services will be challenged.

Scope of the review

The National Skills Commissioner, Mr Adam Boyton, should examine and report findings regarding the current and future workforce requirements of Australia’s care and support sector and factors affecting labour supply and demand. Without limiting related matters on which the Commissioner may report, the Commissioner should:

  • examine the current profile of the care and support sector workforce, including occupation, qualifications and employment type, and the main sociodemographic characteristics, including gender, education and ethnicity
  • examine the current balance of labour supply and demand in the sector, including geographic distribution and the extent to which current workforce arrangements meet community need including those in regional and remote Australia
  • examine factors affecting the supply for care workers in the near term (over the next five years) and longer term in light of the aging population (to 2050) including:
    • potential challenges to labour supply including, but not limited to: remuneration, employee turnover, suitability of current skills and training model, employee engagement and enablement, ability to attract and retain talent and opportunities for career progression
    • education and training pathways available to enter the care and support sector, including international qualifications
  • assess the likely future growth in demand for workers in the care sector and the extent to which it can be met over the near and longer term. This should include consideration of current strategies to meet that need including workforce planning, migration settings and linkages to the education and training sectors and employment programs and services
  • draw on domestic and international policies and experience, where appropriate
  • have regard to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and lessons to date from the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, and implications for workforce that may stem from them
  • develop a framework to monitor and assess pressures in the care and support sector workforce over the short, medium and long term.
Process

The National Skills Commissioner should also consider analysis, studies and strategies produced by Commonwealth, State and Territory agencies. The Commissioner should also draw on work undertaken by existing industry consultative mechanisms, such as the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council, the Human Services Skills organisation Pilot and relevant Industry reference Committees.

The National Skills Commissioner will be supported by experts from the Department of Health, the Department of Social Services, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the National Disability Insurance Agency, and the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

The final report should be provided to the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business by 30 September 2021.