Industry Snapshot: Community Services and Health

Community Services and Healthcare covers a broad range of career opportunities – not just doctors and nurses! As Australia’s largest employer group, making up 11.4% of the workforce, the community services and healthcare industry includes physiotherapy, massage, nutrition, social work, aged and disability care, childcare and community support.

The Community Services and Health Industry currently employ around 1.069 million Australians and cover over 350 separate occupations. Government is the main funding source and in some industry sectors also the main provider of service.

The industry comprises two subdivisions: Health services and Community services. These subdivisions are broken down further into the following industry classes:

  • Hospitals;
  • Medical services;
  • Pathology and diagnostic imaging services;
  • Allied health services;
  • Other health care services;
  • Residential care services;
  • Child care services; and
  • Other social assistance services.

The ageing of the Australian population is expected to lead to greater consumption of health services. Increased life expectancy may also increase demand for particular types of health services and aged care services.
There are many factors that make this industry appealing: the flexibility, transportable skills that are in high demand both interstate and overseas and the opportunities to ‘make a difference’ to people’s lives, to do work that is meaningful in a community, to be challenged, are all important factors. Study and working in health or community services offers young people the chance to develop life-long human skills and knowledge (empathy, patience, life processes) and to grapple with important social and ethical issues that can enrich their capacity as community members.

According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER (2008)), the majority of employers in the Health and Community Services Industry provide some form of training, with most of it provided on an informal and on-the-job basis. While 54 per cent of employers in all industries are engaged in some way with the VET system, the proportion in Health and community services is above average, with 59 per cent of employers engaged with VET. Overall, 94 per cent of employers in the Health and community services industry provide some form of training to their employees.

Health Services

  • Raise awareness of health issues and promote health
  • Diagnose and treat illness and injury 
  • Provide rehabilitation and palliative care.
  • Government and non-government organisations provide services in a range of settings including hospitals, medical centres, community health and mobile clinics. Most services are funded or provided directly by Government.

Community Services

  • Provide a large and diverse range of services designed to support individuals, families and communities
  • Include child care, aged care, support for people with disabilities, protective services, community support, social work, and employment services.


  • Highly skilled workforce with over 75% of people holding a post school qualification (all industry average is around 42%). Many jobs require higher education with more than 38% of workers holding a Bachelor degree or higher qualification and another 33% with a VET qualification.
  • Women account for 78% of the workforce – the highest proportion of all industries, however some sectors have been very successful in attracting men, eg Ambulance sector, Health Technicians and employment services.
  • Good opportunities for part time work high – flexible work available with 46% of workers employed part time.
  • Career opportunities are diverse, with over 350 different occupations available. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia.


Ambulance Officer: Ambulance Officers and Paramedics provide emergency health care and transport for injured, sick, infirm and aged persons to medical facilities.
Ambulance Officers work in teams and in shifts. They work closely with members of other emergency services such as firefighters, police and health workers.   

Dietitians: Dietitians apply the art and science of human nutrition to help people understand food and health relationships and make dietary choices to get the most out of their lifestyle. Dietitians are university-trained experts in food and nutrition and are trained to provide a wide range of professional services. 

Childcare Worker: Child Care Workers care for the social, emotional, physical and educational needs of infants and young children in various care settings. Childcare workers may plan and implement developmental programs based on observation of individual children and observe and record children's growth, behaviour and development, and discuss with parents.

Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CSHISC); My Future- Occupations; Fair Pay- Industry Profile; Health Skills Australia.