Current context

Queensland’s health sector is forecast to be one of the biggest contributors to jobs growth in the state over the next five years. Several factors are driving increased demand for health services. These include:

  • a rising prevalence of chronic disease
  • a growing focus on preventative and primary health care
  • growing public and private expenditure on health services
  • higher proportions of Indigenous consumers with complex health needs and
  • increasing expectations from the community and consumers around their healthcare needs.

The ability of Queensland’s health sector to be resilient and responsive to future challenges is highly dependent on having the capacity and capability within the workforce. However, many of Queensland’s health providers, particularly those in geographically-isolated regional and remote locations, face multiple challenges that inhibit efforts to attract and retain a suitably skilled workforce. These include:

  • a lack of awareness about the wide variety of careers and jobs available in health among students, career advisors, job seekers, and training and employment providers
  • fragmented, uncoordinated and often duplicated efforts to attract and train workers
  • inadequate workforce planning knowledge, skills and resources among health providers
  • an ageing workforce, resulting in a diminishing labour pool
  • youth perceived by employers as not being work ready
  • a perception that some employers are not ‘youth friendly’ or able to provide a culturally safe work environment
  • a loss of talented, educated youth to cities and long-term retention challenges in rural and remote locations
  • education and training programs not delivering relevant curricula for current and emerging careers
  • inequitable access to training providers in rural and remote locations, limiting opportunities for further education
  • few available school to employment pathways, ranging from limited opportunities to engage with the health sector to learn about careers, to limited opportunities for cadetships, apprenticeships and traineeships
  • low participation in the health workforce by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.