Mackay’s health sector is expected to grow most in the next three years.
Mackay’s health sector is expected to grow most in the next three years.

JOBS: Why health will add more roles than mining by 2024

Health care jobs are expected to grow the most over the next three years while the mining industry is predicted to add just 90 jobs by 2024.

The coronavirus pandemic, an ageing population and more home-based care are among the reasons the health sector will grow.

But the mining industry will remain the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday region’s biggest employer with more than 16,000 jobs.

Health care and social assistance was already the second biggest employer in 2019 but is expected to gain 1243 new roles by 2024.

Mackay Isaac Whitsunday jobs predictions for 2024 from the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3
Mackay Isaac Whitsunday jobs predictions for 2024 from the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3

Construction is tipped to add 1413 jobs to the economy while there should be 782 new accommodation and food services roles.

Professional, scientific and technical services could add 727.

The 13.7 per cent jump in health care jobs, drawn from Jobs Queensland data, is one of the key focuses in the Greater Whitsunday Alliance’s latest report.

The Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap was created to provide local intelligence around training, skills and workforce development needs and gaps within the region, together with recommendations about how these can best be met.

Mackay Isaac Whitsunday jobs numbers from 2019 from the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3
Mackay Isaac Whitsunday jobs numbers from 2019 from the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3

The report says the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Future Employment Study predicts high jobs growth areas within the health industry over the next 10 years, including registered nurses across a range of specialisations, aged and disabled carers, nursing support workers and welfare workers.

It mentions other reports suggesting “ongoing growth within allied health workforces across the region”.

“While the Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Future Employment Study identifies there is expected to be considerable automation and augmentation impact on a range of professions in the health care and social assistance industry, most impacts will be offset by the projected jobs growth,” the report reads.

“There is expected to be an accelerated shift towards more consumer choice driven service demand.

“There will be increasing home-based care, with hospital-based care becoming even more acute care focused, which will lead to health care workers needing education experiences that enable them to adequately respond to the needs of presenting patients, as well as education opportunities that enable them to diversify their skills beyond their routine job skills.

Key pillars to grow jobs and skills in the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3
Key pillars to grow jobs and skills in the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3

“Given key growth areas … are jobs which require vocational or tertiary qualifications, it will be important to implement strategies to ensure education and training options remain relevant and agile so that the right skills can be attained in the right timeframe to fulfil future workforce demands.

“Other emerging skill needs … include digital foundations, data skills, use of workplace technology, analytical thinking, problem solving, understanding and responding to regulation, communication and growth mindsets.”

Mackay Isaac Whitsunday jobs growth projections for 2024 from the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3
Mackay Isaac Whitsunday jobs growth projections for 2024 from the Greater Whitsunday Future Skills Roadmap. Picture: GW3

Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Lisa Davies Jones said any increase in demand for health care workers would be in line with changing patterns of community need and use of services.

“Both an ageing population and the prospect of COVID-19 pose a potential demand for more health care workers, however, any increase in demand is multi-dimensional,” she said.

“Mackay HHS saw an excellent retention rate of 98 per cent of graduate nurses and midwives who completed their 2020 graduate program with Mackay HHS.

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“Additionally, a record number of junior doctors are deciding to continue their training at Mackay HHS in 2021, with about 70 per cent of 2020 intern doctors and resident medical officers having elected to continue their training in Mackay.

“With relatively new facilities across Mackay HHS, we’re growing the number of specialities we offer which makes us more and more attractive to clinicians.

“Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce has, is and always will be extremely important to

the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

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