Date published: 
2 September 2021
Media type: 
Media release
General public

The Morrison Government today releases the 2020 Aged Care Workforce Census Report.

It points to a significant increase in the number of direct carers working across the industry since 2016, efforts by providers to secure more nursing staff and a workforce that is increasingly better skilled. 

The census also reveals the age care sector is succeeding in its efforts to attract younger employees.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services, Richard Colbeck, said the 2020 workforce data provides a benchmark for the Government as it continues to drive generational reform.

“Right across the aged care sector we continue to see examples of a workforce that is determined to make individual care a priority,” Minister Colbeck said.

“This has been showcased during the pandemic as employees - particularly in residential care settings - have put the needs of residents ahead of their own.

“From direct care staff to those working behind the scenes, these are workers who have been there for our loved ones when family and friends could not.”

Minister Colbeck said the dedication of employees underlined the Morrison Government’s deep commitment to ensure support for the sector is strengthened.

“We are investing $652.1 million in growing and skilling the workforce,” Minister Colbeck said.  “Aged care workers are the engine room of the reforms and key to ensuring respect, care and dignity for senior Australians.

“The census also benchmarks the attributes and skills central to the delivery of quality aged care – a useful reference for us as we move through our $17.7 billion, five year, five pillar reform of aged care.”

The Aged Care Workforce Census is conducted every four years to provide a periodic overview of the aged care workforce.

Key findings in the latest data show:

  • a 32 per cent increase in the number of direct care workers in residential aged care facilities since the last census in 2016;
  • 89 per cent of residential aged care facilities report having a registered nurse on duty or on call overnight;
  • 66 per cent of personal care workers in residential aged care facilities hold a certificate III or higher in a relevant direct care field, with a further two per cent studying at the time
    • in the Home Care Packages Program, this proportion was just above 60 per cent, while in the Commonwealth Home Support Programme this was just above 70 per cent; and
  • a workforce which continues to get younger, with half of all residential aged care and just under a third of the Home Care Packages Program and Commonwealth Home Support Programme direct care workforce under the age of 40.

Minister Colbeck said the census results also underlined the negative impacts of pandemic on workforce including a drop in the number of volunteers in residential aged care facilities since 2016.

“Volunteers play an important role in reducing the social isolation for senior Australians, particularly those living at home,” he said.

The census was conducted in late 2020 with providers of residential aged care, Home Care Packages Program and Commonwealth Home Support Programme, through an online questionnaire.

The 2020 Aged Care Workforce Census Report can be found on the Australian Government Department of Health website.