The shape of Australia's post COVID-19 workforce
2.4 Case study
Health care and social assistance experiences consistent demand
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, demand has been relatively consistent for the essential services provided by the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. Hospitals have experienced a short-term increase in employment. This offsets some decline in areas such as Allied Health Services that were restricted by physical distancing requirements.
Employment in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry decreased by 28,600 (or 1.6%) over the 6 months to August. The industry had the second lowest rate of decline of the 12 industries that fell over the period. More recently, employment increased by 36,800 (or 2.1%) over the quarter to August.
Employment in the Other Social Assistance Services sector decreased by 34,700 (or 10.0%), followed by Child Care Services (down by 12,200 or 8.3%) and Residential Care Services (down by 5,000 or 1.9%) between February and August.
The only sector in the industry to see employment fall over both quarters in this period was the Other Social Assistance Services sector.
Employment in the Medical Services sector increased by 12,900 (or 7.1%), followed by Other Health Care Services (up by 5,900 or 20.3%) and Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging Services (up by 4,100 or 8.4%) over the 6 months to August 2020.
According to Australian Taxation Office Single Touch Payroll data, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry was one of only 4 industries to see an increase in employee jobs between March and October.
Employee jobs in this industry increased by 0.3% between 14 March and 17 October. This growth was well above average for all industries over the period (down by 4.4%).
The Hospitals sub-division recorded the largest increase in employee jobs in the industry between 14 March and 17 October (up by 2.5%), followed by Social Assistance Services (up by 2.1%).
Declines were recorded in the Medical and Other Health Care Services (down by 3.4%) and Residential Care Services (down by 1.6%) sub-divisions.
Internet Vacancy Index (IVI)
Of the 51 occupations that primarily operate within the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, job advertisements in 37 (or 72.5%) have now reached their pre-pandemic levels. This is compared with 53.4% across all occupations.
The Health Care and Social Assistance occupations that have had job advertisements recover most strongly above their pre‑pandemic levels include Indigenous Health Workers (210.9%), Nurse Educators and Researchers (181.6%), Other Medical Practitioners (178.6%) and Anaesthetists (168.6%).
Figure 17: Health Care and Social Assistance occupations exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels of job advertisements (% of pre-pandemic level)
Looking ahead, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry is expected to continue to provide a significant share of new jobs. As well as being a vital part of the community response to, and of management of the pandemic, demographic changes underpin long-term growth for services offered by the industry. These changes will continue to provide future employment opportunities in the industry.
The Health Care and Social Assistance industry was the largest employing industry for 34 of the 110 occupations identified as resilient.
More than a quarter (26.2%) of resilient occupation employment is in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. This industry has the largest concentration of resilient occupation employment, with 65.4% of employment in the industry considered to be resilient. By comparison, around one-third (33.4%) of employment across all industries was in occupations considered resilient.
The Health Care and Social Assistance industry provides opportunities for both high and low skilled careers. The industry employs 40.9% of higher skilled resilient occupation employment (Diploma or higher education level) and 23.7% of occupations requiring skills commensurate to a Certificate II/III level.
Table 5: Health Care and Social Assistance industry occupation resilience and employment
|Occupation||Occupation Resilience Score||Number employed in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry(‘000)||Share of occupation employment in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry|
|Aged and Disabled Carers||15||181.2||95.0|
|Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers||12||90.1||95.1|
|General Practitioners and Resident Medical Officers||13||62.5||97.7|
|Welfare Support Workers||12||39.6||62.6|
|Enrolled and Mothercraft Nurses||13||23.2||96.7|
|Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers||14||21.4||58.5|
|Other Medical Practitioners||15||19.5||96.5|
|Ambulance Officers and Paramedics||13||19.3||96.0|
|Health and Welfare Services Managers||14||18.9||82.5|
|Medical Imaging Professionals||12||16.3||96.4|
|Medical Laboratory Scientists||13||13.6||49.3|
|Audiologists and Speech Pathologists / Therapists||15||8.6||92.5|
|Other Health Diagnostic and Promotion Professionals||13||6.3||63.0|
|Nurse Educators and Researchers||13||6||65.2|
|Other Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers||12||5.6||33.1|
|Dental Hygienists, Technicians and Therapists||11||4.6||63.0|
|Special Care Workers||12||2.4||60.0|
|Indigenous Health Workers||11||1.2||80.0|