Tuesday, 16 April 2024
    Plenty of jobs for men
    Aged Care

    Plenty of jobs for men

    Experts are calling for more aged care workers as our population gets older, saying without men stepping up, there will be severe worker shortages.

    "It is extremely imbalanced in terms of gender, the latest numbers are nearly 90 per cent female workers in the sector," says Dr Julie Moschion, associate professor at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne.

    "When you have such an imbalance in the workforce, it means that people from the minority – in the case of aged care, men – might not consider this as a good path for a career for them."

    Historically low rates of pay, the perception of a poor career structure and cultural stereotypes around caring roles are all elements that work against recruiting more male workers.

    That's blocking men from getting a job in a booming field open to people with different levels of qualifications, which can be done in nearly every suburb and town in Australia.

    After more than a decade in the sector, Ashish Sood is hoping more men will join him.

    "On the very first few shifts, I just knew this is the place I want to be — it's very rewarding," he says.

    The large imbalance of workers isn't a new problem, and nor are huge issues in the sector:

    The award wage for personal care workers is almost a third lower than disability carers doing similar jobs
    Australian Institute of Health and Welfare research found more than 10 per cent of aged care staff hold a second job to get by

    The aged care workforce is expanding by about two per cent a year. But CEDA research suggests that unless that growth rate doubles we'll be 110,000 workers short by the end of the decade.

    And that growth is just to keep up with global 'minimum' standards. As an increasing proportion of people live longer and develop more complex needs, the projected workforce will fall far short of what's required to give 'five star' care.

    "If we want to do something about growing the workforce we need to look at some of those under-represented groups," Ms Winzar says.

    "And the most under-represented group in aged care workforce is actually men."

    But until stereotypes about masculinity and caring roles shift, the University of Melbourne's Dr Moschion says there won't be a sizeable shift in workers being open to taking up the jobs available.


    Plenty of jobs but gender stereotypes and low pay can hold men back from careers in aged care (ABC News)


    Ashish Sood, with residents Jim (left) and Trish (right), has spent more than a decade working in aged care.(ABC News: Simon Tucci)