We think of the younger generations having youthful idealism and optimism yet the 2017 Global Millennial Study by Deloitte shows that the 20’s and early 30-somethings are not feeling optimistic.
Just 1 in 4 believes the year ahead will see an improvement politically and again a minority- only 1 in 3 believe we will see an uptick economically.
Where’s our share?
While it is little surprise that their number one concern is terrorism/political tension (56% are concerned), the second biggest concern (43%) is income inequality. There is a strong feeling amongst Generation Y (Millennials) that they are being left behind in this era of flat wages growth and massive home and living cost increases. Our recent ABS income and wealth analysis shows that Gen Y as a whole have 7% of Australia’s private wealth while they are more than twice this (15%) of the population while the older Boomers have an economic share three times that of their population share. There is a growing series of forecasts indicating that this may well be the first generation since the Great Depression which will end up behind their parents economically.
Big challenges but are they too big…
This study shows that Millennials, particularly in the developed world feel somewhat disempowered with a sense of high responsibility yet low influence to shape the challenges of the environment, social equality and direction of the country.
They are key contributors to society and believe that working within the system rather than radically fighting against it in a revolutionary approach is the best way forward.
Moving on…but to full time roles
Almost 1 in 2 (48%) expect to leave their current role within 2 years while less than 1 in 3 (31%) plan on still being there in 5 years. While the gig economy sounds exciting, almost three times as many (70%) would prefer full time work than a freelance work life (25%). Yet the challenge for Australian Gen Y’s is that while unemployment is still quite low (5.7%), the workforce is trending away from full time roles. In the last year, the Australian economy has added 130,000 part time roles but lost 40,000 full time roles.
The dot com kids see the downside of tech
Millennials are more negative than positive when it comes to technology particularly regarding the impacts it is having in the workforce. While it aids productivity, economic growth and flexibility, the majority of this generation believe that it will force them to retrain (51%) and that it is making the workplace more impersonal and less human (53%).
But they are warm towards Gen Z
The new next generation (Gen Z, born since 1995) is well regarded by Gen Y with most Y’s (53%) believing that the next generation will positively transform the workplace.
They also believe that Gen Z are well equipped and “futureproofed” in the workplace because of their creativity, flexibility and engaging leadership style.
Change. It’s happening all around us, and it’s easy to be intimidated by the scope and scale of it, but if we can observe the trends and the shifts, then we don’t have to become victims of change but rather we can proactively respond. That’s what’s key. Having the confidence to move forward strategically and proactively, to embrace the trends rather than hide from them.
Earlier this year Mark McCrindle presented Understanding the Times, Shaping the Trends: A Snapshot of the Changes Transforming Real Estate at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria National 2016 Conference. Here are some of his thoughts on trends shaping the Real Estate Industry.
How are generational differences impacting the REAL Estate industry?
Generationally, it is more important than ever to understand the six generations that we have in Australia. While the younger generations might not be active clients in terms of real estate vendors, they do influence parental purchasing and decisions a lot.
We can sometimes pre-qualify people based on our perception of where they’re at in their life stage, but actually there are a lot of people in their late 70’s who are still active in property, perhaps downsizing to buy their next place. Then you’ve got someone in their early 20’s who’s maybe not buying their own place, but perhaps looking at an expensive home because they will be living in that home with their parents. We have to understand the diversity of the generations and all of them may well be active influencers in the buying decision.
Do you have any recommendations on how the Real Estate industry can engage their community?
Sometimes the best connections are actual connections, not just personal ones. The events, the openings, the events where we invite the community along and talk about the area and what’s happening. That brand experience, where people can come to meet and greet with free pizza or cocktails, that sort of thing is what works well, people are looking for that social interaction.
Any tips for those working in real estate?
Well I’d sum it up with the 4 R’s of Real Estate in the 21st Century:
Keep it real and authentic
To adjust and adapt
Keep it relational in terms of how we connect
We can’t just rely on yesterday’s wins, we have to adjust and adapt to remain responsive to the needs of today
ABOUT MARK MCCRINDLE
Mark is an award-winning social researcher, best-selling author, TedX speaker and influential thought leader, and is regularly commissioned to deliver strategy and advice to the boards and executive committees of some of Australia’s leading organisations.
Mark’s understanding of the key social trends as well as his engaging communication style places him in high demand in the press, on radio and on television shows, such as Sunrise, Today, The Morning Show, ABC News 24 and A Current Affair.
His research firm counts amongst its clients more than 100 of Australia’s largest companies and his highly valued reports and infographics have developed his regard as a data scientist, demographer, futurist and social commentator.
Owning your own four bedroom house on a decent block of land with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool used to be the quintessential 'Great Australian Dream'. But with rising property prices and increased living costs, that dream is being redefined.
what is the Average Australian Profile?
The average full time annual income in Australia is $80,000, which is bumped up a bit because of high income earners. Even though we are living longer now than a generation ago, the average retirement age is little changed, at 61.5 years.
The cost of housing is up with average rent prices per week at $485/week and the average house price (capital city) is $765,730. In Melbourne it is well above this and in Sydney it is around $1 million. This is where the challenge is for Australians: 40 years ago the average house price was around 5 time’s average earnings and now you can see it is almost 10 times the average annual fulltime earnings.
Other than affordability, what else are Aussies looking for?
Lifestyle is key. People are opting to live in higher density areas for the sake of convenience and location- within close proximity to transport, restaurants – the café culture as it has been called. Our Urban Living Index shows a strong correlation between the most urban/densified suburbs and those with the highest liability ratings.
Australians are opting for a lifestyle of Minimalism - we are 'decluttering' our lives and putting more value on the intangibles like travel. Generation Y aren’t opting for a big home with garages to store all their stuff but more of a focus on the easy-livability of apartment living. Indeed many baby boomers are downsizing from their larger homes in the suburbs to this style of living too.
Renting, as opposed to buying, what some of the benefits?
The ability to change locations easily is well regarded – the average Australian renter stays just 1.8 years per home. Our research shows that 1 in 3 renters are actually 'choice renters' and they choose to rent for lifestyle reasons, not primarily for affordability reasons. These choice renters are twice more likely to be living in medium and high density housing than the average Australian and they are almost 10 years younger than the average Australian. The ability to upsize and downsize easily and the flexibility to travel for extended periods of time is a driver for them. ‘Rentvesting’ is also becoming a ‘thing’. This is where people choose to rent in an area they like, but buy somewhere more affordable and use this as an investment
Generation Y are struggling to attain the Great Australian Dream – are they going to be ok?
There is a challenge emerging of "generational inequity" as shown by this infographic:
Gen Y’s have the least wealth of the working generations and their proportion of Australia’s wealth is less than half their demographic share, while the Baby Boomers who are a quarter of the population, own more than half of Australia’s wealth. (More information on this topic can be found here)
This is why Gen Y is reinventing the Aussie Dream and while they do still like the idea of owning something of their own, it is not just the big home with the back yard in the suburbs. But many in this generation will be absolutely fine thanks to the massive intergenerational wealth transfer set to happen in the next 20 years as those aged over 65 transfer much of their total wealth of $2.5 trillion.
Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse. We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney. Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.
Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing. We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.
And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere. You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.
NSW also has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.
Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.
The Changing Face of Sydney; Urban Sprawl Goes Vertical
The Changing Face of Sydney; A closer look at Parramatta
The Changing Face of Sydney; Is the Sutherland Shire the new boom town?
The Changing Face of Sydney; The Changing Face of Liverpool
The Changing Face of Sydney; The big Development Flying Under the Rader
Q: Just wondering how many have first language of English?
A: Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. Almost two in three households have at least one parent born overseas, and China may soon overtake England as the country Sydneysiders born overseas were most likely born in.
Q: My children – aged 11 and eight – and I just watched the Changing Face of Sydney. They would like to know how our suburb, Loftus, has changed over the years. Or anything exciting you can tell them about our great suburb.
A: Well it is a fascinating suburb – home to far more families with kids than the state and national average. Averaging two children per household (well above the average) and with more stay-at-home parents than average. Earning more, volunteering more, and with a higher proportion of children than most Sydney suburbs – sounds like a nice, family-friendly place to live.
Q: What does the future of Blacktown look like as a part of the changing face of the western suburbs?
A: Blacktown has consistently been the fastest growing areas in the whole of NSW over the last decade. The Blacktown City area is home to more than 300,000 people, which means it is home to more people than the whole of the Northern Territory!
Q: We have just moved to Mosman from Adelaide, what can you tell me about Mosman, its demographic and its history?
A: Mosman is home to far more females than males - average age is 40, well above Sydney’s 36 and the residents’ earn more and work longer than the NSW average. Three in five of those in the labour force in Mosman work more than 40 hours per week. It is also home to twice the proportion of professionals and managers than the state average.
Q: What are your views on Sydney property growth in the short term? Is this boom likely to continue? NSW future infrastructure projects are encouraged by this strong stamp. What would be the result if the interest rates increase?
A: Yes Sydney’s property prices are no bubble. They are underpinned by more demand (population growth) than supply (new home builds). Not only is Sydney growing around 85,000 people per year, but households are getting smaller so the housing demand is even outstripping population growth. However, Sydney prices will no doubt plateau at some point, as they have before.
Q: Which suburbs have big potential for growth? Where will be more infrastructure developments?
A: Greater Western Sydney is where the population growth is and where there will be a lot of new infrastructure over the decades ahead. Plus prices are beginning from a lower base than the east. And keep in mind that by 2032 Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney (2.9m compared to 2.7m).
Q: My partner and I are planning to buy a house. What is the quietest place in Sydney?
A: The quiet suburbs on the urban fringes – Shanes Park, Cranebrook, Marsden Park, Badgery’s Creek – are acreage at the moment but will be development central in a few years. So the quiet may just be temporary.
Q: Where is the best place to invest, which suburb?
A: Really depends on budget and also having a long-term view. Suburbs change: Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, Campberdown were once not considered desirable suburbs and are now very expensive. So it is good to look at population growth trends and emerging infrastructure. A suburb not “hot” at the moment if it is in Sydney will be a winner long term.
Q: What are the reasons for different ethnicities to settle in the respective suburbs? (Chinese in Hurstville and Chatswood, British in Manly, etc.)
A: Often it is where they have connection/family and so various suburbs end up with strong ethnicities. For example, traditionally Greeks settled in Kogarah, many from Vietnam called Cabramatta home and more recently a strong connection of those from India to Harris Park.
Q: What proportion of the Hills district is evangelical and also now the Shire?
A: The ABS census data shows religion by denomination and it shows that for example the Hills have less than 19 per cent while the Shire has more than 25 per cent Anglicans.
As Australia’s social researchers, we take the pulse of the nation. We research communities. We survey society. We analyse the trends. And we communicate the findings.
Every Tuesday we release a trend about Australia for #TuesdayTrend. Here are some of our recent #TuesdayTrends, highlighting fun facts about Australia. Be sure to follow, share and interact with us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
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Since 1975 Australia has seen four decades of massive change – demographically, socially, economically, politically, globally, culturally and technologically.
In such an area it is important to not just observe the changes but to understand the trends and respond, so that we can thrive in these massive times of change.
In this video below Social Researcher and Demographer Mark McCrindle outlines these changes.
Australian population bigger and older
In 1975 the Builders generation was firmly in control, the Baby Boomers were emerging and Generation X were still kids. More than half of Australia’s population wasn’t born in 1975 and since then we’ve seen massive generational change. We’ve also seen massive population change. Back then Australia’s population was 13.7 million and today it’s almost 24 million people, an increase of more than 10 million in four decades.
In the 1970s, the average age of an Australian was in the late 20’s, while today it’s in the late 30’s, such has been the ageing of our population in that time.
Our life stages have also changed in the past 40 years. People were getting married in their early twenties back in the seventies, while now the median age of marriage is approaching the thirties, indicating great social change as well.
Earning more, costing more
Australians are also earning a lot more now than we were back then; the average full time earnings in 1975 was $7,600 per year, today the annual average earnings exceed $72,000 per annum.
And while we are earning more, costs are a lot more today than they were back then. The cost of a loaf of bread today is more than 10 times the price it was in 1975, while a litre of milk today is 3 times the cost it was 4 decades ago.
Four decades ago Sydney had the highest house cost, averaging $28,000 while today it exceeds $850,000. So while earnings have gone up, by almost tenfold, house prices have gone up by more than thirtyfold in that same period of time.
The year of the Dismissal and an end to the Vietnam War
1975 was a year of massive political change as well. The year began with Gough Whitlam as Australia’s Prime Minister, but it was the year of the Dismissal and so it ended with Malcom Fraser as Prime Minister.
Gerald Ford was the president of the United States and it was the year that the Vietnam War ended, a time of massive global change.
Jaws vs The Lego Movie
From a popular culture perspective it was quite a different era. We had harsher tastes back then perhaps because Jaws was the movie of the year compared to The Lego Movie of today. ACDC had the album of the year back then compared to Taylor Swift currently.
1970: The Beatles break up.
1972: M*A*S*H Show premieres.
1972: Terrorist attack at the Olympic Games in Munich.
1973: U.S pulls out of Vietnam.
1975: Pol Pot becomes the Communist Dictator of Cambodia and the Cambodian Genocide begins.
1975: Gough Whitlam is dismissed and Malcom Fraser elected.
1975: NBC's Saturday Night (later known as Saturday Night Live) debuts.
1976: Jimmy Carter is elected President of the United States.
1979: Margaret Thatcher becomes the first woman Prime Minister of Great Britain.
1979: Mother Theresa awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1979: The World Health Organisation certifies the eradication of smallpox.
Technological advancements that changed the world
1970: Computer Floppy Disks are introduced.
1971: VCRs introduced.
1975: Microsoft is founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, who develop a BSIC program for the Microcomputer Altair 8800, and is released the same year.
1975: The world’s first digital camera is created by Steven Sasson and Kodak Company.
1975: The laser printer is invented.
1977: The first personal computers (PC) are introduced.
1979: Sony introduces the Walkman.
1979: Cell phones are invented.
The speed and impact of these changes remind us to not just observe the changes but to understand the changes and respond so that we can thrive in these times of massive change.
To find out more about how we can help your organisation remain relevant:
What does the Australia of today really look like? With the typical length of employment being 3.3 years and Australians today working on average 17 jobs in their lifetime, we are seeing a shift from job stability to job flexibility. The rise of the couple only household means the nuclear family is on the decline. Because kids are staying at home longer, they've been named the KIPPERS (Kids in Parents Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings). And in the midst of the current baby boom, Australian's are having children later in life.
Nuclear family no longer most common household
For the first time in Australia's history, the nuclear family will no longer be the most common household – while today they make up 33% of all households, within just a year the couple only household will be the most common type of household.
With the decline of the nuclear household structure, we are often seeing three generations living under one roof: Baby boomers are being sandwiched by taking care of their own parents (the builders), while still having their Gen Y children living with them and studying.
This type of arrangement is a significant financial advantage for Gen Y KIPPERS (Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings) who may be saving $15,000 per year on rent alone by living with their parents. For mum and dad, however, retirement plans are delayed and retirement savings significantly decrease. Baby Boomer parents, while enjoying the social interactions available in a multigenerational household, can often feel the pressure and may feel like their hard work is being taken for granted.
Household size grows after a century of shrinkage
Household size has been declining for the last 100 years. In 1911, the average household size for Australia was 4.5. By 2006, it had fallen to 2.53. But in 2011, something remarkable happened. Household size increased. Only by a small amount, but enough to raise it to the current 2.6 people per household. The multi-gen household and boomerang kids have turned around a 100-year trend and created expanding household size.
Employment and Job Mobility
Australia is approaching 24 million people, and our labour force is close to half our total population at 11.7 million people. Of these, 70% are employed on a full time basis and 30% are part time workers. Currently our unemployment rate is at about 6.2%.
Australia’s job mobility is a long way from job for life- in fact it’s closer to three jobs per decade! Today the national average tenure in a job is 3.3 years (3 years and 4 months), based on voluntary turnover of around 15% per annum.
If this plays out consistently in the life of a school leaver today, and assuming they start their working life aged 18 (in a part-time role) and are retired from all work by 75, they will have 17 different employers in their lifetime. Based on 3 jobs before upskilling or career changing, this means that they will also have 5 separate careers in their lifetime.
Record births, older parents, increase in family size
We are currently experiencing a baby boom in Australia, with birth numbers setting new records and exceeding 300,000 per year, more than were born in the original baby boom post WWII. It is not that more women are deciding to have children, but those that are having children are deciding to have more than previously, and as a result Australia is seeing an increase in the family size.
Gen Y will produce more children than any previous generation in Australia’s history. While the number of children per Gen Y family is significantly less than that of their grandparents (in 1961 the total fertility rate hit 3.5 births per woman), Generation Y parents are having more children per couple than Generation X did. When Generation X were in their peak fertility years (turning 31 in 2001), this coincided with the very year Australia hit its lowest birth rate ever recorded in Australia (1.7). Now as Generation Y are reaching their peak fertility years we have a birth rate significantly higher, hovering around 1.9.
Natural increase and Migration
Australia's annual growth rate is 1.6% which equates to 364,800 people over the last year. In 2008 net overseas migration was 459,904 (therefore population growth numbers in the last year were 95, 104 less than they were 7 years ago).
Annual growth is comprised of two factors: natural increase (births minus deaths) and net overseas migration (permanent arrivals minus permanent departures). A permanent arrival is defined by someone living in Australia for 12 months or more (or 12 months over a 16 month period). The same time frames apply to permanent departures.
58% of Australia’s population increase is through migration which was 212,500 people last year. In 2008 net overseas migration was 315,700 which equates to 103,200 fewer last year than 7 years ago. 42% of Australia’s population growth was through natural increase which was 152,300 people.
Here at McCrindle we love Australia and everything about it - the people, Aussie spirit, weather and community. As 2015 kicks off we bring to you a visualised overview of Australia’s Population and Generational Profile, to help you understand the demographics of this great country and so you can blitz that next trivia night!
The Population Map
This year Australia’s population is predicated to hit 24 million!
Our population growth rate (1.6%) means that we are growing by 364,800 people each year! Net overseas migration accounts for more than half (58%) of this growth, while the remaining 42% is accredited to natural increase.
Sydney is home to the most Aussie’s (almost 5 million), followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
There are 9.1 million households in Australia, and on average 2.6 people live in them.
The median age of Australian’s today is 37.3, and our life expectancy is around 82 years old.
Aussie’s are most likely to get married in their late twenties (29.1) and become parents in their early thirties (31.9). Our fertility rate (1.9) is even higher than the OECD average (1.7)!
Our Generational Profile
Australia is made up of 6 generations, spanning those in their 80’s and above (the Builder’s) to our newborns today (Generation Alpha). Each generation has grown up in a definitive time of unique challenge and opportunity, and how the times have changed! For example, while just 1 in 10 Builders obtained a university degree, half of our emerging generation Alpha’s are predicated to do the same.
What we do
At McCrindle, our expertise is analysing findings and effectively communicating insights and strategies. Our skills are in designing and deploying world class social and market research. Our purpose is advising organisations to respond strategically in changing times. As social researchers we help organisations, brands and communities know the times.
If we can assist you with communicating insights or visualising data, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you:
Australian attitudes to funerals and death are changing. We perceive funerals with growing acceptance rather than resistance and are opting for relaxed and reflective funerals rather than solemn and serious ones. We are unlikely to pre-plan our funerals, and two thirds of us prefer cremation over burial.
In Australia the age of dying is increasing, with the highest number of deaths occurring in the 85 to 89 age bracket (comprising 1 in 5 of all deaths), and our life expectancy has risen to 82 years of age.
While tax rates might be rising death rates in Australia are actually declining. Even though Australia’s population is larger than ever (23.5 million) and growing faster than ever (405,400 in the last year), Australia’s death rate continues to decline (6.5 deaths per 1,000, down from 6.9 a decade ago). Australia has more than twice as many births as deaths with more than 300,000 annual births and less than 150,000 annual deaths (147,098 in 2012).
Although more men die each year than women, (74,794 men in 2012, 72,304 women), the gap is decreasing from a decade ago when 107 men died for every 100 women, to 103 men for every 100 women currently.
Seasonal deaths: winter is Australia’s ‘death season’
‘The death season’ in Australia comprises our winter months, June July and August. Deaths in June are 11% above the monthly average, July is 26% and August 24% above the average. In summer of 2012 there were 25,617 deaths and in winter that same year Australia saw 41,926 deaths, an increase of 64%.
While Victoria hosts a deadly winter (66% increase in deaths compared to summer 2012), because of warmer weather, the Northern Territory does not have a noticeable winter and the deadliest month in the top end is January, and has been for the last 4 years.
Age of death increasing
The highest death numbers in Australia occur in the five year age bracket 85 to 89. This age group saw 19% of all deaths occur in 2012, making up 1 in 5 deaths for that year, despite 85-89s comprising just 1.2% of the population. Of the 279,684 Australians aged 85-89 in 2012, approximately 1 in 10 of them (27,885) died that year. Of the 3,299 Australians aged 100 and over in 2012, 2 in 5 of them (1,369) died in that year.
While those in their twenties recorded one of Australia’s lowest death rates, three times as many males (1,134) die in their twenties as do females (420).
Infant deaths declining
Infant deaths continue to decline even though we are setting new birth records (310,600 last year). While in 2002 the number of infant deaths recorded 397, this figure dropped to 312 ten years later. As total numbers of infant deaths continue to decline, so does the infant mortality rate from 4.6 (deaths per 1,000 live births) in 2002 to 3.2 ten years later in 2012.
Significant variability of state death rates
Western Australia had the lowest death rate of any state or territory (5.5 per 1,000 people), while the Northern Territory had the highest (7.9).
When measured by death rates, the deadliest place to live is Katherine in the Northern Territory (death rate 13.6), and the safest place to live is North Sydney (death rate 3.8). There is still a significant life expectancy gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. For non-indigenous Australians, the median age at death for males in 2012 was 78.7 and females was 84.7, whereas for indigenous Australians the median age of death for males was 55 and for females it was 61.3. All of the Local Government Areas with the highest death rates are areas with higher indigenous populations than the national average.
Death rates in some localities is four times that of others
Lowest Death Rate in State
Local Government Area
Highest Death Rate in State
Local Government Area
Country of birth
Of the 147,098 deaths in Australia in 2012, 320 people died who were visiting Australia (non-residents), 45,393 were Australians born overseas and 101,385 were Australians born locally.
Australian men born in the Ukraine have the highest male median age of death at 87.8 years of age, followed by Poland (87.3), Estonia (87.2) and Lithuania (87.2). In fact, Australian men born overseas had a greater life expectancy (79.8) than Australian born males (78.0).
Australian women born in Estonia have the highest longevity with a median age of death at 90.1, followed by those born in Latvia (88.9), Russia (88.4) and Lithuania (88.0). Australian females born overseas had a comparable median age of death (84.6) as those born in Australia (84.7).
About this study
This research was conducted through detailed analysis of ABS datasets and a nationally representative survey of 519 Australians over the age of 50 conducted in April 2014. The research will be presented by Mark McCrindle at the AFDA 2014 National Convention in Darwin, NT, on 1 June 2014.
With Australia’s ageing population, increased life expectancy and longevity, there are growing demands for aged care in our nation.
Australia’s aged care sector is under pressure to meet this growing demand while at the same time facing significant recruitment and workforce challenges with half of the current aged care workforce reaching retirement age in the next 15 years.
McCrindle crunches the numbers in the latest infographic, the Aged Care Puzzle, to determine the magnitude of the demand versus supply gap.
Embed this infographic
THE CHALLENGE OF DEMAND
Australia as an ageing nation
Australia is experiencing a baby boom, with births exceeding 315,000 a year, as well as an increasingly ageing population. The over 65s make up 15% of our population today, and forecasts project that this cohort will make up 17% in 2024, and by 2044, 1 in 5 Australians (20%) will be aged over 65.
Australia’s population pyramids visually show the growth of our ageing population, and in 2044 our population pyramid will become inverted with the number of over 60s outnumbering the under 18s for the first time. Our median age is also increasing – three decades ago the median age of an Australian was 30.5, today it is 37.3 and in 2044 it is projected to be 40.
The over 85s, where there is an even greater need for aged care services, are growing at an even faster rate than the over 65s. In 1984 there were 120,862 Australians aged over 85, today there are 4 times as many, and in 2044 there will be 14 times as many.
Not only are there more older people in our nation but Australians are living longer than ever before. Life expectancy at birth in 1984 was 75.8, whereas today it exceeds 80 for a male and 84 for a female. In 2044, it is projected to be 90.4.
Health advancements are increasing longevity
The primary enabler of this increased and ongoing longevity gain has been the health system rather than individual behaviour. Life expectancy increases will continue because of improved medical technologies, public health infrastructure, better public health measures, new and improved medical interventions and the improved survivability rates of major illnesses and cancers.
The health system is also what will keep us living longer in the future. With Australians living longer than ever before, there will be an increasing need for procedures and medical intervention, and a growing expectation from the public that these services will continue to be provided.
A decade ago, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease were the 6th largest causes of death in Australia, accounting for 4,364 deaths in 2002. Today they are the 3rd leading causes of death with the number of deaths having more than doubled to 9,864. Over the same period of time, deaths due to the first and second causes of deaths (heart disease and brain disease) have been decreasing. If today’s current trend continues over the next decade, by 2021 dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will be the leading cause of death in Australia.
With little change in the retirement age and an increase in longevity, the retirement years have increased and the years for which supported care is needed has also increased. Not only is our population larger, our population is also living longer.
Exponential growth of centenarians will keep the Queen busy
In 1952, the year that Queen Elizabeth II became sovereign, 40 letters of congratulations would need to have been written for Australians turning 100. This year, 2,643 Australians will turn 100 and in 30 years the number of congratulatory letters written to Australians turning 100 will increase to 18,567 in the year 2044.
THE CHALLENGE OF SUPPLY
Not only is there an increasing demand on the services provided by the aged care sector with the growing number of over 85s, there is also a workforce supply challenge.
Ratio of Workers to Retirees Declining
The ageing population will place greater demands for productivity on the labour force. In 1970, for every couple of retirement age there were 15 people in the working age population, by 2010 there were just 10 people of working age for every couple of retirement age, and this is projected to decline to just 5 people of working age for every couple at retirement age by 2050.
An Ageing Workforce
Along with our ageing population, we also have an ageing workforce. Today the median age of an Australian is 37.3 and the median age of a worker is 40. However this varies across sectors – for example, the median age in the retail sector is 33.4, finance 37.3, construction 38.5, health 41.1, education 42.1. However in the aged care sector this ageing is even more pronounced – the median age for a residential direct care worker is 48 and community direct care workers is 50 years which makes it the sector with the highest median age of an employee.
Because of the high median age of an employee in the aged care sector, half of the aged care workforce will be of retirement age in 15 years. There are 240,445 workers in the aged care sector, so this equates to an average of 8,015 retirements per year for the next 15 years, which averages to 668 farewell lunches per month.
If we are to keep the current ratio of aged care workers to people aged over 85 in our nation, we need to add 77,976 workers in the next 10 years, which equates to recruiting 650 new workers per month, in addition to replacing the 668 retiring staff per month.
A Growing Need
In the next 30 years Australia will see an unprecedented rate of growth of the over 85s in our nation. In 2044 there will be 1.2 million more people aged over 85 than there are today, and the average older Australian will live 5 years longer than today which equates to adding 6 million more years of care just for the increased number of over 85s and just to manage their increased life expectancy.