Sector Snapshot


1.7 million

Employed in Health & Social Assistance industries


$111.5 billion

invested into the health industry by the Australian government in 2020-21



of employees hold some form of qualification

The industry

The health industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in Australia.

It includes services like hospitals, nursing, allied health and dental.

The related industry of social assistance  includes similar services in mental health and aged care. 

Careers in health come with great salaries and solid job security. While you don’t need a degree, you usually need some sort of VET training.

The workers

Together with social assistance, the health industry employs more Aussies than any other industry—a whopping 1.7 million people.

There’s also a huge and growing demand for work in health, making it a great choice for careers.

In the five years from 2020 to 2025, the number of people employed in both health and social assistance is expected to grow by 249,000

Many of these jobs will be in hospitals. In fact, the number of people working in hospitals will grow from 484,700 workers in 2020 to 553,300 workers in 2025.

Meanwhile, the number of other medical and health care workers--like those in pathology and allied health--will grow from 560,100 in 2020 to 642,900 workers in 2025.

How is health changing?

There are many factors influencing the health industry and its future jobs.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the state and federal government will ramp up health services.

In 2020-21, the Australian Government is making a record investment into the nation’s health industry of $115.5 billion.

Apart from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, this funding will also go towards mental health support.

Speaking of mental health, the recent Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System is also boosting funding and job opportunities in this sector.

The Victorian government is investing $605 million to address the recommendations made by the Commission. The money will go to things like more hospital beds and outreach programs.

The health industry in Australia will also be shaped by Australia’s ageing population, driving the demand for aged care services.

By 2026, nearly one in five Aussies will be over 65, and in the next 40 years, the number of Aussies needing aged care will increase by 150 per cent.


Jobs in health are as diverse as they are abundant. But the top employing occupation is Registered Nurse.

Other occupations include:

  • Nursing Assistant or Support Worker
  • Orderly or Ward Person
  • Allied Health Assistant or Support Worker
  • Dental Assistant


In the health industry, post-school qualifications are very common and often required.

And because 80 per cent of health and social assistance employees have qualifications, the best way to compete in the jobs market is by getting a certificate or diploma.

Thanks to the demand for workers in health and nursing, many of these qualifications are government funded.

Many are Free Priority Courses, or funded through the JobTrainer program.

This funding is all part of the Australian government’s plan to support the growth of the health industry. But don’t take it from us, take it from Skills Minister Michaelia Cash:

“What we are hearing from employers is that we need to ensure that you have work-ready employees from day one… that is exactly what vocational education is going to give you – for both the employee and yourself as the employer.”

Learn more about studying Health & Nursing