Research Project:

Why are personal care workers are leaving Australia’s aged care sector?

Why are they leaving, why are they staying? Exploring employee retention with both current and past personal care workers working in residential aged care (DUHREC 2022-154)


The number of Australians aged 65 years or older is expected to increase to 1.5 million, or 3.7% of Australia’s population, by 2058. It is expected that 80% of older people will require services and support from Australia’s aged care system. This trend has led to government projections forecasting the number of personal care workers (PCWs) needed to meet the demands of an ageing population to be more than double the current workforce by 2050. However, today, residential aged care operators are facing unprecedented challenges associated with attracting and retaining PCWs. This challenge needs to be addressed, urgently.

While most research published in the area of workforce recruitment and retention relies on quantitative methods, this research deploys a qualitative methodology with a sole focus on retention. A qualitative methodology will be utilised to:

  1. Syntheses peer-reviewed literature to explore the influences on the intention of PCWs working in residential aged care to stay or leave, or their actual turnover from, the aged care sector;
  2. Test the finding of the peer-reviewed literature with both PCWs working in residential aged care and individuals who were previously employed as a PCW but have left the sector; and
  3. On the basis of (a) and (b), with aged care key stakeholders, develop and evaluate principles and supporting recommendations that are designed to promote employee retention and suitable for adoption across Australia’s aged care sector.

This research aligns with the commitment of government, aged care operators, membership bodies and unions to collectively retain a stable, highly-skilled personal care workforce. 

This research project has been approved by Deakin University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (Project ID: 2022-154).

  • About Author

    About Author

    Britt O’Keefe – Doctor of Philosophy, Deakin University, Faculty of Health


  • Seeking Participants

    Seeking Participants

    We are seeking CURRENT & FORMER PERSONAL CARE WORKERS FROM RESIDENTIAL AGED CARE to take part in a national study.