Health Care and Social Assistance Industry Driving Employment Growth
9 November 2017 at 4:50 pm
The health care and social assistance industry has been the strongest contributor to employment growth across Australia in recent years, according to an analysis of recently released 2016 Census employment figures.
Consulting firm SGS Economics and Planning completed this analysis, revealing several key trends in employment growth in major capital cities between 2011 and 2016.
It found that more than 900,000 new jobs were created in the major metropolitan regions of Greater Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide – with the health care and social assistance industry the strongest contributor to this with 153,900 jobs.
“This was driven by Australia’s ageing population, particularly in the residential care (such as nursing homes, 32,200 jobs) and social assistance sectors (including childcare services, 36,700 jobs),” the analysis said.
Every major metropolitan region experienced the highest proportion of their employment growth in the health care and social assistance industry – except for Sydney – while Adelaide received almost 50 per cent of their sector employment growth from this industry.
But SGS economist, Terry Rawnsley, told Pro Bono News this was mainly due to a lack of growth in other sectors, particularly manufacturing.
“Looking at the Adelaide numbers, there was a normal growth in health care, but the city didn’t have growth in other industries,” Rawnsley said.
“That’s why Adelaide had such a large proportion of growth in that sector, because the other industries were not growing as fast.”
The analysis also found that while the major metropolitan regions thrived, “the rest of Australia saw an increase of only 5,400 jobs”.
Rawnsley said this was a concerning trend for Australia, putting a strain on the nation’s metropolitan transport network and affecting housing affordability.
“It’s a concern that there are a lot more job opportunities in the cities, while regional areas are struggling,” he said.
“One of the main reasons for the decline in regional areas was a drop off of manufacturing jobs. A lot of large manufacturers, like Ford in Geelong, have closed in the last five years. This has hit country towns quite hard.
“So more and more people have been drawn to the city for job opportunities. This adds to the stress of housing affordability and the transport network.”
He did however, expect the growth in the health care and social assistance industry to continue in coming years.
“The demographic population pyramid is very much geared towards more growth in the aged care sector, with the baby boomer cohort moving into retirement which brings greater health demands and further down the track, more aged care facilities,” Rawnsley said.
“And with a growing population as well, it means the health and community services industry will continue to grow quite strongly.”
Rawnsley encouraged people to make the most of this growth, as he noted the sector offered employment opportunities for a broad range of Australians.
“The healthcare sector is quite diverse and provides opportunities for a whole range of different skill sets. So there’s doctors and professors at the top end, and nurses and admin staff, and also orderlies and aged care workers,” he said.
“So whereas some of the other growing industries like finance are more geared towards people with a bachelor’s degree… [this industry] actually offers employment opportunities for a broad range of people with a broad range of skills.”