Health sector’s biggest salary hikes
HEALTH sector salaries have increased by as much as 40 per cent in the past five years, as demand for workers outpaces supply.
Seek data reveals the average advertised salary for Australian healthcare and medical roles is $88,722 - up 6.8 per cent since 2013.
The largest salary growth is in the optical sub-sector, where roles offer 39.5 per cent more than five years earlier, and now average $87,642 a year.
It is followed by dental ($75,453), pathology ($76,152), and psychology, counselling and social work ($83,260), which all have experienced about 20 per cent growth.
Salary growth typically stems from increased demand for skills as employers offer higher pay packets to attract talent.
TAFE Queensland Gold Coast Community Services and Health and Nursing faculty director Debbie Blow says the ageing population and increasing mental health diagnoses are driving the need for workers.
"The 75-plus age group is the fastest-growing in the country," she says.
"That's our biggest area and within that you've got layers such as dementia and mental health.
"Projecting for the next two decades suggests we are going to double the incidents of dementia and mental health, which creates a whole other set of skills, jobs and opportunities."
The latest Hays Jobs Report forecasts increased demand for mental health professionals, such as social workers, mental health practitioners, mental health nurses, general practitioners and counsellors.
"(Workers) with experience working with young people in the area of suicide prevention and mental health are needed," it states.
"More programs to heighten awareness of this issue have led to increased demand for qualified professionals."
The report also reveals a shortage of registered nurses in aged care facilities as most graduating nurses prefer to work in an acute care or hospital environment.
Seek data shows aged care nurses are the third highest paid, averaging $94,013.
Nursing jobs with the strongest salary growth are in community, maternal and child health (up 18.2 per cent in five years), psychology, forensic and correctional health (14.1 per cent) and high acuity (13.9 per cent).
Blow says the health and community services sector will be Australia's biggest employer well into the future.
"(Worker shortages are) going to be an increasing not decreasing problem because we know the average age of the workforce in this sector is in the 40s, so retirement is going to be increasing exponentially in the next 10 years," she says.
"If I had young children coming through school, I would be encouraging them to look in these areas.
"We ideally really want to encourage young people into the sector but it's also a really great opportunity for people who want to change career.
"In nursing, aged care and disability, one of the really great things mature-age people can bring is life experience, which is underestimated by people."
Aspiring nurse Sarah Rolland completed a Certificate II in Health Support Services alongside her senior schooling and plans to begin a Diploma of Nursing through TAFE Queensland next year.
Her goal is to then work as an enrolled nurse (EN) while studying the bachelor degree through QUT to become a registered nurse (RN).
"Nursing is a massive passion of mine. It has been for a very long time," she says.
"All through high school I knew what I wanted to do and I just generally have a passion to help people."
She says nursing salaries are "not bad" but money was never a driving factor when she chose her career path.
Read more employment news in the Careers section of your state's News Corp Australia newspaper.