our why

Together, the members of the National Care Workforce Alliance (NaCWA) aspire to transform care work into a sector of choice, recognised as a dynamic and rewarding field where people can find decent jobs, and enjoy long and fulfilling careers while delivering high-quality care.

Why is this so important right now? Because aged care, home care and community care in Australia, and around the world, is experiencing a workforce crisis. Providers across the Australian care sector are facing significant challenges attracting and retaining the right staff at a time when demand is escalating, and the shortfall of workers and standards of care are increasing.

Attracting and retaining staff in the care sector is challenging for a number of reasons:


Even with the July 2023 15% increase in wages for aged care workers across Australia, pay in the sector still remains much lower than average wages for all employees.


There is a problem in the sector matching the number of hours a worker needs with the hours of employment a provider can offer. Workers are reportedly wanting more hours yet providers have challenges finding workers to fill shifts.


The care sector offers limited opportunities for career progression for people in caring roles. Career progression is needed to attract new workers and encourage experienced workers to stay in the sector long-term.


A critical factor for prospective workers and providers is how quickly a new worker can be recruited and commence work. Delays in this process cost workers in lost wages and providers lose capacity to provide services. Workers and providers need nationally recognised training and credentialing to be able to onboard quickly.


INDUSTRY PERCEPTION Care workers who are not valued are likely to leave the profession. There exists a challenge for care providers and the industry at large to show that care workers are valued and that care work is deserving of high social recognition.


Duty of Care: Aged-Care Sector Running on Empty (CEDA, 2023)

Underpinning this are overall challenges in care recruitment including:

  • Significant growth in the workforce is needed to bridge the gap between the number of staff required per resident per day, plus growing demand. Yet many staff are under-employed and lack career opportunities, often resulting in them leaving the sector altogether.
  • High costs of temporary staff and high turnover rates are driving high recruitment costs and consuming monthly operating budgets.
  • Onerous and repetitive onboarding requirements pose challenges – many workers are employed across multiple organisations on a casual or part-time basis but there is no mobility or flexibility in training and onboarding.
  • Negative or unclear perceptions of career pathways in the care sector.
  • Rising consumer and societal expectations of care which is at odds with the existing model.

In 2022 and 2023 the Australian Federal Government introduced a range of care workforce reforms with the aim of improving quality of care. These reforms resulted in a range of positive workforce initiatives, including pay increases and care minutes. Additional reforms will be implemented in 2024. 

To take full advantage of these initiatives, providers cannot continue to tackle the workforce challenges alone. That’s why, for the first time, the National Care Workforce Alliance (NaCWA), spearheaded by the Australian Catholic University, is bringing together aged care, disability care, technology, and education & training providers to work in collaboration on a solution to this care workforce crisis.

Would you and your organisation like to join our team?

Get in touch or contact us on info@nacwa.com.au