Social Assistance

Sector Snapshot



Fastest growing industry in Australia


1.75 million

Employed in Social Assistance and Health


$605 million

invested into Mental Health by the Victorian Government

The industry

Social assistance is one of Australia's biggest industries.

When combined with its sister sector--health--social assistance makes up the largest and fastest growing industry in Australia.

Social assistance includes mental health, aged care, disability support and community services.

It can also include child care services outside of education.

Students and workers describe careers in social assistance as both challenging and rewarding, with benefits like flexibility and good salaries.

The workers

Social assistance and health are responsible for employing more Australians than any other industry.

In 2020, they employed a combined 1,753,600 people, a figure projected to grow to 2,003,100 in 2025. 

Growth in these sectors will continue to provide abundant job opportunities for the foreseeable future.

One of the largest group of social assistance workers are in residential care services, which had 236,600 workers in 2020 and will grow by 10 per cent by 2025.

Apart from residential care, other social assistance services employed 470,100 workers in 2020, and this is expected to grow to 542,600 workers in 2025.

The future of social assistance

The future of social assistance will be shaped by the evolving needs of Australians.

By 2055, almost one-quarter of the population — or 8.9 million people — will be over the age of 65.

This rapidly ageing population will increase demand within the aged care sector.

Meanwhile, the NDIS scheme will continue to be a stable driver of employment in disability.

Some recent Victorian government initiatives will also have long term impacts on the social assistance industry.

Among these, the Big Build initiative will partner with community services to support pensioners, people with a disability, those struggling with mental health, family violence victims, and single parent families.

Other recent spotlights on family violence and mental health are prompting increased awareness and funding boosts.

For example, the Victorian government recently invested $605 million into improving mental health services based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission.


Some of the top employing occupations in social assistance include:

  • Aged and Disabled Carers
  • Early Childhood Educators
  • Counsellors
  • Health and Welfare Services Managers


Post-secondary qualifications are very common in social assistance.

While it’s possible to work in this field without certificates, diplomas or degrees, getting a qualification is the best way to get job ready.

Social assistance employers look more favourably on job applicants with qualifications.

Some qualifications also give you valuable industry experience through placements, which looks impressive on your resume.

Box Hill Institute is one of Victoria’s favourite TAFEs because we equip our students for the real world of work. 

Academic Course Manager and Lecturer in community services at Box Hill Institute, Rose Wake, describes her approach to getting students job ready:

“I am committed to connecting students to the meaning of purposeful work across all fields of practice within community service.”

Box Hill Institute offers the following social assistance courses:

Learn more about studying Community Services