Valuable insights informed by a decade of research.

Here’s what you need to know from the people on the front line. And more importantly, key actions you can take to improve morale and retention.

A word from our CEO, Louise O’Neill

* The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council wishes to thank UnitingCare Queensland for a number of the images included in this report. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that some people in these images may have passed.

Insight #1

Why work in aged care?

Being able to spend time with, and support older Australians remains the key driving factor for workers being attracted into the aged care sector. The consumer interaction was the top reason cited by over 13,000 workers in the Aged Care Census Database (ACCD) for undertaking aged care work. This factor is closely followed by good location and reputation.

Being able to spend time with, and support older Australians remains the key driving factor for workers being attracted into the aged care sector. The consumer interaction was the top reason cited by over 13,000 workers in the Aged Care Census Database (ACCD) for undertaking aged care work. This factor is closely followed by good location and reputation.

*Data extracted by Linguistic Coding of the free-text question “What was the deciding factor in your decision to leave the organisation?” asked on BPA Analytics employee surveys in the Aged Care Sector. Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #2

Recruiting quality staff

The Aged Care Census Database (ACCD) shows that between 2010-2019, aged care workers have increasingly felt that they are working with quality colleagues. On average, at the beginning of the decade around 33% of workers described their colleagues as ‘quality’ whilst at the end of the decade 47% of workers were happy to describe their colleagues as so.

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #3

Retention in aged care

The aged care sector has become known for its high turnover of staff, which has been sitting around 25% over the last decade.

The average turnover rate across all industries in Australia was 8.5% in 2019. The Aged Care Census Database (ACCD) shows that on average between 2017-19 over 45% of aged care workers believed their sector was successful at retaining quality staff. This has been a gradually improving trend from a low of around 34% at the beginning of the decade. With an additional 12% of staff considering their colleagues to be ‘quality’ by the end of the decade, providers are clearly getting better at keeping the right people in the right jobs.

Taken on average over the decade, this puts aged care ahead of all other care sectors in terms of workers believing quality staff are being retained. Although, there are still a significant number of workers (more than half) who think that quality staff are being lost.

*Data extracted by Linguistic Coding of the free-text question “Why do you continue to work here?” asked on BPA Analytics employee surveys in the Aged Care Sector. Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #4

Turnover risk

In 2009-11, the Aged Care Census Database (ACCD) shows that over 30% of workers said that they ‘often’ thought about leaving their aged care organisation. By 2017-19 this had dropped almost 7% to 23.8%. With two slight exceptions, this downward trend in workers thinking less about leaving their aged care organisation continued across the decade.

In 2009-11, the Aged Care Census Database (ACCD) shows that over 30% of workers said that they ‘often’ thought about leaving their aged care organisation. By 2017-19 this had dropped almost 7% to 23.8%. With two slight exceptions, this downward trend in workers thinking less about leaving their aged care organisation continued across the decade.

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #5

Motivators to leave

Retirement is the number one reason workers give for leaving aged care. The other reasons aged care workers are giving more recently for leaving aged care dovetail closely with the motivators current data suggests will be key to providers retaining aged care staff.

We outlined these emerging motivators in Insight #1 as including the organisation’s reputation, career progression opportunities and job security.

*Data extracted by Linguistic Coding of the free-text question “What was the deciding factor in your decision to leave the organisation?” asked on BPA Analytics employee surveys in the Aged Care Sector. Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #6

Workforce ages

Australia’s aged care workforce profile is changing. Over the last decade, as providers have grown and recruited more workers, the biggest percentage increase in workers has been the 26-35 age bracket.

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #7

Training and skills

Most aged care workers think that their organisations are addressing training and skills issues. This is an important sentiment to track given that research has found that around 22 per cent of successful aged care applicants require further ‘on the job’ training.

Most aged care workers think that their organisations are addressing training and skills issues. This is an important sentiment to track given that research has found that around 22 per cent of successful aged care applicants require further ‘on the job’ training.

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #8

Fair workloads

Many aged care workers feel overworked.

This is no big surprise. It reflects sentiments across Australia’s entire care workforce: there is too much work to do and too little time in which to do it.

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #9

Fair pay

Perceptions around the fairness of the pay in aged care organisations has consistently increased over the last 10 years…

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #10

Leadership styles & priorities

Aged care workers believe that the top four priorities of their managers are honesty, respect, reliability, and work ethic.

Aged care workers also rank their managers’ leadership style as predominantly approachable, fair, caring and supportive.

*Data extracted by Linguistic Coding of the free-text question “What was the deciding factor in your decision to leave the organisation?” asked on BPA Analytics employee surveys in the Aged Care Sector. Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #11

Management competencies

Aged care workers think that their organisations are getting better and better at ensuring their managers have the competencies required to lead.

*Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

Insight #12

Consumer expectations

Workers think that aged care consumers’ top four priorities are: care, respect, quality standards and safety.

*Data extracted by Linguistic Coding of the free-text question “What are the 3 most important things that you think your residents/clients expect from your organisation?” asked on BPA Analytics employee surveys in the Aged Care Sector. Data held on the Aged Care Census Database. Last updated 14th December 2020. ACCD-information BPA Analytics (bpanz.com).

© Research conducted by and exclusive copyright of BPA Analytics Pty Ltd 2020.

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