Aged Care Employment and the Productivity Commission: Fixing the data gaps may be the most useful thing it can do

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    Abstract

    Objective
    To explore the gaps and anomalies in Australia's national aged care workforce data with a particular focus on casualisation and insecure employment in residential aged care.

    Methods
    Secondary analysis of data from the National Aged Care Workforce Census and Surveys, the Aged Care Workforce Census and the Australian Bureau of Statistics Characteristics of Employment Survey.

    Results
    There are significant and disturbing gaps in our knowledge of the aged care workforce deriving from disruptions to the time series as a result of methodological changes, reduced reliability resulting from declining response rates and the historical weighting system. Scope is also a critical factor due to data inadequacies relating to a non-Pay As You Go (non-PAYG) workforce and regarding the use of minimum hours contracts. This reduces our understanding of insecure employment.

    Conclusions
    Australia needs better quality and more reliable data on its aged care workforce if the labour shortages confronting the sector are to be better understood and addressed. There is a critical need to determine the optimum strategy to obtain such data, whether by specific research projects of sufficient scale to accurately document the scale and scope of these issues, or in creative strategies to make use of automatically generated data.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)573-578
    Number of pages6
    JournalAustralasian Journal on Ageing
    Volume41
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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