Aged care sector to be rocked as 20% of workforce prepare to quit: CompliSpace survey

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Around 47,000 aged care workers, about 20% of the workforce, say they are preparing to quit the sector within a year due to low pay and stress.

The 2021 CompliSpace A Perfect Storm: What’s Driving Australia’s Aged Care Staffing Crisis report forecasts the staffing exodus is only going to worsen with 110,000 staff or two in five workers, planning on leaving for other careers in the next three years, rising to 184,000 or almost two-thirds of the current workforce within five years.

The SATURDAY Workforce issue revealed research showing the annual turnover of staff in aged care in 2021 is already 29%, with Registered Nurses 35%. Across all employment sectors in 2021 the turnover is 7.5%.

Poor pay, stress and excessive paperwork driven by new Government regulations were cited as the top three reasons by the 1,000 workers surveyed as why they want to quit.

Full-time aged care workers earn as little as $21.62 per hour, or $39,427.20 a year, although this can rise to as much as $65.65 per hour on public holidays for the most experienced and qualified workers.

“The impending staff exodus from aged care is not surprising when you realise we pay more to those who stack our supermarket shelves than those who care for some of the most vulnerable Australians in society,” said CompliSpace CEO David Griffiths said.

Interestingly however, the main reasons cited for staying were relationships with residents and families, job satisfaction and fulfilment and relationships with co-workers – showing that workers are staying to support their residents and colleagues.

Could this be the key to attracting a new generation to the sector?