Challenging the Status Quo


HESTA has released its report on the findings from a workforce research series into our valued professionals in the health, community and disability services naming it ‘State of the Sector’.

It seems our most valued community members have successfully managed COVID-19 only to be likely to be defeated by critical continuing challenges. Those challenges include:

  1. Dwindling resources;
  2. Workforce shortages;
  3. Poor pay; and
  4. Lack of professional pathways.

It is difficult not to place the failure at the feet of those responsible for their organisation’s governance practices.

The following which is only a snapshot of fuller data offered by the report is confronting:

“There was also a substantial number of professionals who were unhappy and dissatisfied with their employers, industry and leaders.

  • About one in six community services respondents were planning to leave the sector in the next two years.
  • Professionals aged 18 to 39 were the least likely to be planning to stay with their employer and in the sector in the short term. Nearly 30% of the 30 to 39-year-old cohort were planning to leave the sector in the next two years.
  • About a quarter of community services sector respondents were detractors of their employers and a career in the industry, respectively. Nearly 30% would not recommend their leaders or managers.
  • Nearly a quarter of community services sector respondents did not feel appreciated by their employers. Nearly one in five did not feel their skills and experiences were valued by the community.
  • There were higher rates of unhappiness and dissatisfaction among social workers in relation to various industry and job satisfaction measures. Social workers were the least likely of community services professionals to recommend a career in the sector or their employers.”

Somehow it is too readily accepted that present circumstances cannot be changed. We are passive onlookers lamenting the shame of what is happening and at the same time thinking we are helpless to either help or make a positive difference.

It is not as if a status quo is always going to be that same status quo. It can be changed. But it does call for leaders to be bold and courageous.

Or maybe to put it simply, for leaders to be leaders.

It is the directors and executive group who are best placed to really make a positive difference. But that takes a will to do so.

While those challenges outlined above are not insignificant, they do not need to be considered simply as the sector’s status quo.

Enterprise Care’s knowledge and understanding of remuneration policies and practices, as well as insights and benchmarking into staff engagement, offers a more positive approach in managing people’s professional pathways, keeping younger professionals, retaining talent, and leveraging expertise.

Governance needs to be whole of organisation. An organisation’s leadership group benefits from key insights as to the drivers and forces that shape and impact its operating environment. By better understanding its governance options and role the leadership group can actively address the systemic issues that persist in one of our most valued sectors.

HESTA is to be applauded for its research program and in delivering insights that hopefully will translate into employees having “higher-quality, more secure work and a better financial future”.

For anyone wishing to discuss how to tackle these challenges, please contact Damien Smith AM or the Enterprise Care Team.