In the last 12 months, the overall number of job advertisements across Australia has declined – with the exception of a handful of sectors.
But one sector is bucking the national trend: the community services and development sector surged by 18.7 per cent since February 2019, according to the latest Seek data.
Related story: World’s biggest workplace experiment: Phase one
According to Seek, this sector encompasses aged and disability support, Indigenous and multicultural services, community development and management, volunteer coordination support, child welfare and youth services, housing and homelessness services, as well as fundraising and employment services.
It’s one of only five Australian sectors that saw job ad growth in the last 12 months and was certainly well ahead of the next best-performing sector of farming, animals and conservation, which saw job ad growth rise 8.7 per cent.
Government and defence job ads spiked a modest 2.3 per cent, followed by healthcare and medical at 2.1 per cent and banking and financial services at 2 per cent.
Meanwhile, every other sector saw reductions in new job openings, with consulting and strategy hit hardest at -16.9 per cent, followed by manufacturing, transport and logistics (-13.2 per cent) and design and architecture (13 per cent).
What’s driving jobs growth in this sector?
While there are multiple reasons why this sector has grown, the underlying reason is that more Australians are getting older, and more workers are needed to care for them.
“The ageing population is the main driver for the increase in the aged care sector along with the introduction of tighter regulations relating to the level of care provided,” Generation Australia CEO Malcolm Kinns told Yahoo Finance.
The roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has also seen a spike in job openings, he added.
“It's predicted there will be approximately 50,000 new disability and aged care support roles that will become available over the next five years.”
Child and family support workers and Indigenous support workers are also particularly hard to hire for due to the level of qualification required and the specific demographic profile of the worker that is sometimes required, limiting the hiring pool, Kinns said.
The Aged Care Royal Commission, announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2018, has also driven up demand for skilled aged care workers.
“Staff-to-patient ratio numbers may need to increase, so this will lead to greater demand in the market,” said Seek employment analyst Adama Abanteriba.
Growth in this sector was also reflected in recruitment firm Hays’ Jobs report (January to June 2020), which named case managers, facility managers and care coordinators as the most in-demand jobs in the aged care sector, as well as social workers and psychologists within community services.
“There is an increasing demand for management-level candidates who have a background in community services and can take on strategic roles as organisations work to implement new government reforms into their current business models following the various royal commissions in recent years,” the report stated.
Will the demand continue?
While staff across Australia and the world are being cut or stood down as the economy grinds to a halt, the coronavirus crisis, which impacts older people more severely, will drive further demand for carers.
“We will likely also see a spike due to the current pandemic, both during and after due to needing a bigger workforce to cover absences and then due to the need to replace workers who decide to leave the industry following experiences during the pandemic,” Kinns said.
“The demand curve for these sectors is relatively inelastic, so arguably these two career paths are reasonably recession-proof too.”
Make your money work with Yahoo Finance’s daily newsletter. Sign up here and stay on top of the latest money, news and tech news.