Aged care workers support thousands of older people across Australia. In 2016, there were over 366,029 (estimated) employees in the aged care sector working in residential and community settings, and in a variety of direct-care and non-direct care occupations.  This workforce includes nurses, direct care providers and allied health staff such as social workers, OTs and physiotherapists. Direct-care workers may provide care in a person’s home or in an aged care home.
In residential aged care Personal Care Attendant (PCAs) are the largest occupational group (70 per cent), followed by Registered Nurses (RNs) (15 per cent) and Enrolled Nurses (ENs) (10 per cent). The median age of the residential direct care workforce was 46 years. While 32 per cent of the total residential care workforce was born overseas, 40 per cent of recent hires were migrant workers. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounted for 1 per cent of the residential direct care workforce. 
The total home care and home support workforce decreased by 13 per cent between 2012 and 2016. Community care workers were the largest home care and home support direct care occupational group (84 per cent) followed by RNs (8 per cent) and AH professionals (5 per cent). The median age of the home care and home support direct care workforce was 52 years, and they were predominantly female workers (89 per cent). The proportion of overseas born workers in the home care and home support sector has reduced from 28 per cent in 2012 to 23 per cent in 2016. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accounted for 2 per cent of the home care and home support direct care workforce. 
The increasing demand for aged care services means that there is a need to ensure that the workforce is appropriately trained and prepared to provide care for older people with palliative care needs. 
- Mavromaras K, Knight G, Isherwood L, Crettenden A, Flavel J Karmel T, et al. 2016 National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey - The Aged Care Workforce, 2016 (24.06MB pdf). Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health. 2017.
- Parker D. Aussies are getting older, and the health workforce needs training to reflect it. The Conversation [Internet]. 2017 Jan 24 [cited 2017 May 15].
Page updated 23 May 2017