Overview

The health and welfare workforces deliver diverse services through many private and public organisations. Combined, there are more than 1 million people employed in delivery of health and welfare services in Australia. Some occupations, for example nurses, are represented in both workforces. 

In 2016, responsibility for reporting health workforce information was transferred from the AIHW to the Australian Government Department of Health, 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).

The AIHW periodically releases analysis on health and welfare workforce data, which can be found in the following snapshots and reports:

Who does the health workforce include?

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.

Who does the welfare workforce include?

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.