A caring nation – 15 per cent of Australia’s workforce in Health Care and Social Assistance industry
One in seven people in the Australian workforce are working in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry, according to 2021 Census data released today.
Dr David Gruen AO, Australian Statistician said, “Census data provides government and community groups with crucial information about essential healthcare and welfare services.
“There are now over 1.7 million people working in Health Care and Social Assistance in Australia, of which 30 per cent are working in hospitals”.
Occupations that experienced strong growth include Aged and Disabled Carers (227,535 in 2021, up by 72 per cent since 2016), Occupational Therapists (19,429 in 2021, up by 57 per cent), and Audiologists and Speech Pathologists (13,613 in 2021, up by 49 per cent).
Census data also showed an increase in mental health professionals, with Psychologists and Psychiatrists both increasing over 40 per cent since 2016.
The 2021 Census counted over 260,000 Registered Nurses. The occupation grew by 19 per cent between 2016 and 2021, exceeding the 13 per cent growth of the broader workforce.
“Census data shows over 40 per cent of Registered Nurses and Aged and Disabled Carers were born overseas, with almost 40,000 arriving since 2016. A 40 per cent share born overseas is significantly higher than the average across all occupations of 32 per cent born overseas,” Dr Gruen added.
Nursing has overtaken Building as the third most common non-school qualification in Australia, behind Business and Management and Teacher Education. There are an additional 96,000 people with a nursing qualification, representing 19 per cent growth since 2016. Females hold 91 per cent of Nursing qualifications.
While females make up the majority of people employed as Registered Nurses (88 per cent) and Aged and Disabled Carers (77 per cent), the share of males working in these roles has increased a little since 2016. In 2021, 12 per cent of Registered Nurses were males, compared with 11 per cent in 2016. For Aged and Disabled Carers, the percentage of males increased to 23 per cent from 20 per cent.
The median weekly income for full-time male Registered Nurses is $1,802 compared to $1,631 for females. For Aged and Disabled Carers, the median weekly income for full-time males is $1,254 and $1,114 for females.
Proportion of Health Care and Social Assistance industry
Residential Care Services
Other Social Assistance Services
Allied Health Services
Child Care Services
Pathology and Diagnostic Imaging Services
Other Health Care Services
Health Care and Social Assistance, nfd
Medical and Other Health Care Services, nfd
Social Assistance Services, nfd
Health Care and Social Assistance total
 nfd – means not further defined and indicates that the Census response did not have enough detail to classify the person into a finer detailed industry group.
Aged and Disabled Carers
Audiologists and Speech Pathologists
Downloadable video quotes
Census data that we’ve released today tells us there are now over 1.7 million people working in the health care and social assistance industry, and 30 per cent of these workers are employed in our hospitals.
Occupations within the health industry with the strongest growth were Aged and Disabled Carers – up 72 per cent and Occupational Therapists – up 57 per cent.
We saw a significant increase in the number of mental health professionals as well, with Psychologists and Psychiatrists both growing over 40 per cent since 2016.
The Census data has shown us that over 40 per cent of our Registered Nurses and Aged and Disabled Carers were born overseas, with almost 40,000 new arrivals since last Census working in these occupations.