Are you thinking about a career in community services? Job satisfaction is vitally important, yet nearly 25% of Australian workers report being neutral, unsatisfied or highly unsatisfied with their careers. Community services represent the perfect intersection of available job opportunities and high levels of career satisfaction. Read on to find out more about getting started with aged care, disability care, mental health and youth services, among others. For some more detailed info you can also download our Community Services Industry Profile eBook, providing all the information you need to know for a successful career in the Community Services.
Does the thought of sitting at a desk at a corporate job for hours upon hours each day sound like a poor option? You’re not alone!
One survey (Job satisfaction of employees) of over 10,000 Australians, conducted by Fair Work Australia, found that roughly one quarter of respondents reported being neutral, dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their paid employment. Although the majority of participants reported positive job satisfaction, one quarter still represents a potentially huge number of people who don’t enjoy their jobs.
Don’t let yourself become dissatisfied with your career. If you want a job that personally satisfies you and allows you to give back to your community at the same time, look no further than the community services industry.
By all accounts, growth in the community services industry - which encompasses such things as aged care, home and community care, youth work, mental health counselling and disability care - appears unprecedented.
This growth stems, in large part, from the aging of the population overall, as well as the aging of professionals currently working in these roles. Take the case of aged care workers. In the next ten years, it is estimated that roughly 60 per cent of these professionals will reach retirement age themselves, and within 20 years, will become recipients of the type of care they previously provided.
Population growth and an aging workforce translate to corresponding job outlook improvements for community services workers. The Australian Government Job Outlook website reports that employment growth for social workers is, “…very strong, with growth expected over the 5 years to May 2022 offering between 15,001 and 30,000 job openings from workers leaving and new jobs being created.”
Compared with 5 years ago, the number of Social Workers has grown very strongly.
The statistics also predict similarly strong growth for Welfare Support Workers as well. “This is a very large occupation employing 52,300 workers.” Job Outlook says, “Very strong growth is expected over the 5 years to May 2022. There are likely to be more than 30,000 job openings over this time from workers leaving and new jobs being created.”
“Compared with 5 years ago, the number of Welfare Support Workers has grown.”
#2: Job security
With increased demand for community services workers comes improved job security - a factor that all students must consider as they pursue higher education. Truly, there’s no reason to waste your time studying for a degree in a field that will ultimately be phased out as technology and society grows and changes.
The Australian Government Job Outlook website cited above concludes that job security for community service professionals should be quite comfortable. In the case of social workers, the programme notes that this is a “large profession” and that jobs should be available in most regions. Unemployment for social workers is also below average, demonstrating a positive trend of continued employment for these community service workers. Although welfare, recreation and community arts opportunities are less common, they enjoy similarly low levels of unemployment.
#3: More choices than ever before
Part of the reason that community services opportunities are less common is that - by and large - many of these jobs have only recently appeared as viable career options. Consider that over the past ten years, employment has only grown in community services while other industries stall.
This means that the number of jobs available for these positions are increasing; in fact, the likelihood of future job growth falls into the top percentages of industry increase. What the Australian Government Job Outlooks data shows is a boom since new community services positions were introduced and subsequently expanded over the past ten years, thanks to increasing demand. The good news is now that they’re here, it’s unlikely that these newly formed roles will be disappearing anytime soon.
#4: Job satisfaction and salary in community services
The historical and projected employment levels in the thousands for Community Services workers in Australia to 2020 are solid, according to the ABS Labour Force Survey by the Department of Employment (trend data to November 2015 and projections to 2020).
In the profession of community services, wages and salary will be based on a number of factors, including your previous experience, where you are working and the type of role you take on. It is a varied sector, meaning that job roles range from entry level to upper management and beyond.
Full-time earnings for people in community services average $1156 per week, or $60,112 per annum. For example, Payscale.com indicates that a ‘counsellor’ might earn up to $83,761 per annum, based on data supplied by users, and a ‘disability care worker’ might earn up to AU$61,889 per annum. Salary expectations are reported by users of the platform, based on actual job roles.
Most metrics tend to indicate that community service workers do enjoy higher levels of job satisfaction than other professionals. According to Payscale, 100 per cent of 38 social workers give their jobs five out of five stars, an average rating which translates overall to being “extremely satisfied,” while case workers score themselves as being “highly satisfied” with their jobs on average.
#5: Giving back feels great
Truly, it’s no surprise that job satisfaction in these fields is so high. Anybody who’s ever participated in the care of another person knows how rewarding it can feel to make a difference in somebody’s life. Consider that, out of the roughly 36 per cent of Australian adults who actively volunteered with charitable causes, nearly nine out of ten report being satisfied or very satisfied with their experiences.
When you work in community services, giving back doesn’t have to be something you do periodically, on a volunteer basis. It can be your day-to-day life! Imagine leaving work at the end of the day, feeling satisfied with the contributions you’ve made to society. It can be hard to find that type of reward in any other career.
Courses available in community services
As an added bonus, training for community services work is relatively easy to come by. Many of the positions described above require qualifications which can be acquired through Upskilled’s online training sessions. The Bachelor Of Applied Social Science (Counselling) equips you to begin your counselling career, while the Diploma Of Community Services (CHC52015) could see you gain work as a case coordinator, case worker or manager. The Certificate IV In Mental Health (CHC43315) allows you to specialise in this in-demand area and could give you the qualifications to work as a mental health support worker.
The bottom line is this: don’t choose a career because of its high starting salaries or because somebody told you that you should. If giving back to the community is important to you, you’ll find industry growth, job security, job satisfaction and more with a career in community services.