New report shows ‘alarming’ care sector vacancies

Article courtesy of Australian Seniors News.

Yet another report has highlighted the worrying extent of job vacancies within Australia’s aged care and disability care sector, with the newly released National Skills Commission 2022 Skills Priority List revealing a 12% annual increase in jobs shortages.

National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate, Ian Henschke described the findings as alarming.

The latest figures come on the back of last week’s ABS job vacancy figures, which showed there were more than 74,000 job vacancies in the care sector.

“Today’s Skills Priority List also show future demand for health, child, aged and disability care workers as ‘strong’,” Mr Henschke said.

“This is an understatement and highlights the desperate need for nurses, healthcare, childcare, home care, residential care, and disability care workers. It strengthens the case to let pensioners work within this sector and help fix these shortages.

“Our research shows almost 20% of pensioners are considering returning to work from retirement but under the current rules they risk losing $0.50 in the dollar from their pension and pay tax on top.”

National Seniors wants a New Zealand-style policy where pensioners are free to work as much as they want and simply pay tax on their total income. It’s simpler, rewards those who need to work and encourages participation.

It says economic modelling by Deloitte of an opt-in exemption from the income test found the policy would be cost neutral if only 8.3% more pensioners re-entered the workforce or worked longer. Beyond this it is revenue positive.

Mr Henschke said it was vital the Australian Government acts decisively to mobilise more workers.

“We can’t just tinker at the edges, as is being proposed with changes to the Work Bonus limit, we need policy change. The government must act quickly, clearly, and decisively to send a clear signal to pensioners and veterans they’re needed, valued and free to keep working, re-enter the workforce or work more,” he said.

“It would also help end ageism and put our older workforce participation rate up there with NZ, Sweden, USA, Israel, Japan, and South Korea, where older people are seen as an asset not a liability.

“If the government in its upcoming budget adopted our proposal, it would take a giant step forward in ending ageism and solving the workforce crisis particularly in the care sector.

“With today’s release of occupation shortages, more and more people are asking why won’t the government just let pensioners work?” said Mr Henschke.

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