Welfare workforce: demand and supply

‘Welfare workforce: demand and supply’ is Chapter 9 in the Australia’s welfare 2023: data insights.

This page provides a high-level overview of the key messages presented in Chapter 9.

Download the full article: Chapter 9 [PDF 1.6 MB]

Download the full report: Australia’s welfare 2023: data insights [PDF 11.1 MB].

The people who make up Australia’s ‘welfare workforce’ are employed in jobs which provide welfare-related services and support to individuals, such as children in child-care facilities, people with disabilities and people who need assistance due to ageing.  

It is important to monitor the supply and demand pressures on this workforce. Such efforts help to ensure that there are sufficient workers with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver efficient and adaptable services to meet the demand. 

But the welfare workforce is difficult to quantify and study. This is due to overlaps with and movements between sectors such as health, as well as the lack of a dedicated data collection focusing on this occupation group.

This chapter describes the welfare workforce in Australia by examining the: 

  • demand for workers
  • supply of workers
  • challenges in attracting, training, and retaining workers.

What is in this chapter?

Demand for workers

The demand for the welfare workforce has been steadily increasing over the years and is expected to continue growing.

This increase can be largely attributed to factors such as an ageing population, growth in number of people using disability-related services, and social policy reforms as well as a growing recognition of the importance of providing quality care to vulnerable individuals.

This chapter examines these factors in detail.

Supply of workers

Monitoring the supply of the welfare workforce is important to ensure that there are enough workers available to meet the needs of the community. This monitoring includes assessing if there are any shortages or surpluses in the workforce, identifying areas where there may be skill gaps or shortages and understanding trends and patterns in the workforce. 

Monitoring also enables organisations to identify areas where they may need to invest in training or development programs, either to build the skills of their existing workforce or to attract new workers.

This chapter discusses the existing welfare workers, and analyses some of the factors which influence the overall supply – including trends in workforce demographics, training and education, average earnings, occupation type and the impact of COVID-19.

Challenges in attracting, training and retaining workers

The increased demand for a welfare workforce is a challenge for the sector in attracting, training and retaining one sufficient to meet needs.

With some parts of the sector already facing skills shortage and high staff turnover, it is crucial to adapt and adopt strategies that will improve the capacity of the workforce to meet future needs.

This chapter describes initiatives to meet these challenges.

Where do I go for more information?