Lack of professionals ahead

Trends predict Australia will face serious shortages in the health, education and engineering.

Trends predict Australia will face serious shortages in the health, education and engineering.

AUSTRALIA will face a serious shortage of professionals in the health, education and engineering sectors within the next 15 years, an analysis of retirement patterns in an ageing workforce has revealed.

Based on current trends, for every 110 health professionals who retire there will only be 84 qualified people to replace them by 2025, according to the September quarter Clarius Skills Index. The index is based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, and analysed by KPMG.

The figures show the country will be unable to maintain self-sufficiency in its supply of health professionals within 15 years. It is an issue being investigated by Health Workforce Australia, which is due to hand down a report on future skills shortages in the health sector within six weeks.

The president of the Australian Medical Association, Steve Hambleton, said the ageing health workforce was a recognised problem that had only been partially improved by a doubling of medical school student intakes in the past four years. That will see graduate numbers hit a peak in 2014.

The general secretary of the NSW Nurses Association, Brett Holmes, said nursing was already suffering a skills shortage, with figures showing that by 2028 there will be a shortfall of about 10,000 health professionals in the state.

In education, KPMG has predicted that only 73 qualified people will be available to fill every 107 jobs created by retirement by 2025, while in engineering, 18 per cent of those working in the sector are due to retire within the next few years.

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