Three Areas to Drive NGO Job Growth in 2017

By Andrew Heaton

(image via Simple Legal Solutions)

Three areas will drive strong demand for skilled professionals within the charity and not-for-profit sector in Australia throughout 2017, the head of the organisation which runs one of the industry’s biggest online job sites says.

In a recent interview, Infoxchange Chief Executive Officer David Spriggs said demand for disability, aged care and family violence services will drive growth in employment within the sector again this year following robust labour market conditions in 2016.

“We are expecting ongoing overall strong demand,” Spriggs said, asked about the outlook for employment within the sector this year.

“That’s what we have seen in the past twelve months. We are expecting it to continue into 2017.”

Spriggs – whose organisation Infoxchange runs the Job Seeker web site – said demand for workers would be driven by three key areas.

First, more staff will be needed in disability services because of the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

In aged care, as well, a spike in job listings was expected to continue amid robust demand for carers.

Finally, there was family violence, where Job Seeker had seen a 60 percent increase in roles last year and more roles were expected in 2017 as new programs and initiatives were announced.

Roles in likely demand for family violence include counselling and case workers, Spriggs said.

Those in disability would revolve largely on carers, where there is a shortage of suitable candidates.

Care managers who put together service agreements under the NDIS would also be an area of focus, he said.

In aged care, action centred around core workers whilst management roles continued to be advertised amid a reasonable level of turnover within these roles.

Around Australia, demand for workers within sectors in which charity and not-for-profit organisations operate has been on the rise in recent years.

Over the two years to November, ABS data indicates that the number of people employed within ‘social assistance’ roles grew by 34,900 to go from 352,500 in November 2014 to 387,400 in November last year.

Across healthcare and social assistance overall, 159,600 net positions have been added to take the sector’s workforce total to 1.541 million.

Going forward, the Department of Employment expects 250,200 jobs to be created in the five years to 2020 to take workforce numbers from 1.523 million as at November 2015 to 1.773 billion by November 2020.

Beyond the growth agenda, however, Spriggs said there is a movement away from permanent positions and toward casual and fixed-term roles – a phenomenon he attributes to uncertainty over funding sources and a lack of clarity as to some of the specific details as to the NDIS rollout.

Finally, Spriggs said there were important strategies which both employers and candidates could adopt in order to maximise their chances of successful outcomes from the job market this year.

For employers, many charities and not-for-profits were working to develop their brand as an employer of choice amid a candidate friendly market.

This includes by attracting people from the private sector by talking about opportunities to be involved in an area which delivered a high level of impact and important community benefits.

In order to attract younger candidates, organisations are also seeking greater innovation in service delivery strategies, and are offering candidates opportunities from which to help shape some of those strategies.

For candidates, Spriggs said organisations at senior and executive levels were looking for strategic thinkers who could drive innovation in areas such as the introduction of different funding schemes.

At a caseworker level, there was a push for tech savvy candidates with skills in areas such as case management systems.

Beyond the sectors referred to above, Spriggs said an emerging area of demand revolved around asylum seeker and migrant support roles.

This, Spriggs said, was seeing year-on-year growth albeit with the number of people employed in this area being modest in proportion to that for charities and not-for-profits overall.

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