Health workforce

The health workforce in Australia is large and diverse, covering many occupations, ranging from highly qualified professionals to support staff and volunteers.

Health workforce information is based on data collected annually through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS), in the mandatory registration process for practitioners covered by this scheme. The registered health workforce includes: nurses and midwives, medical practitioners, psychologists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, dentists and other dental and oral health practitioners, occupational therapists, medical radiation practitioners, chiropractors, optometrists, Chinese medicine practitioners, podiatrists, osteopaths, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners.

Nurses and midwives are the largest occupational group in the health workforce. The number of full-time equivalent nurses and midwives employed is over 3 times that for the next largest health profession, medical practitioners.

In 2016, responsibility for reporting health workforce information was transferred from the AIHW to the Australian Government Department of Health. For the most recently reported health workforce information, visit the Health Workforce Data website. Prior to this, the AIHW reported data from the NRAS (2011 to 2015 data) and its own Labour Force Surveys (data to 2009).

Welfare workforce

The welfare workforce includes occupations as diverse as early childhood education and care workers, counsellors, carers for the aged and disabled, social workers, nurses and psychologists.

Early childhood education and care workers, and aged and disabled care workers make up more than half of the workforce. The next largest occupational groups are nursing support and personal care workers.