Mercy Health: introducing men to a career in caring

Mercy Health case study

Mercy Health recognises the importance of having a workforce that is as diverse as its client base and this means attracting more male workers.

With almost 60% of the industry’s direct care workers being 45 years or older and 36% of the current workforce within 10 years of retirement, there is also a need to attract younger people to healthcare. The organisation is also acutely aware that there will be a shortfall of 123,000 nurses across the industry by 2030 and that currently only one in 10 nurses in Australia are male.

As part of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency's Gender equality in action series, Mercy Health has completed a case study that outlines on how they have gone about introducing more men to a career in caring.

“Breaking down stereotypes is critical to attracting and retaining males to caring professions,” says Adjunct Professor Stephen Cornelissen, Mercy Health Group Chief Executive Officer. “Not only does it provide greater diversity in the workplace, it also starts to challenge the stereotypes of male roles in society more widely.”

As aged care shifts towards models of person-centred care, the aged care industry is looking for competency in areas such as emotional intelligence and the ability to empathise, which have become central to the aged care worker role. These traits have been traditionally seen as ‘female’ but Adjunct Professor Cornelissen believes it is time to acknowledge this capacity within men.

As one part of a long-range strategy, high school volunteering programs are a way of introducing males to the possibility of a career in caring. Students from 50 secondary schools and five universities regularly volunteer at 22 Mercy Health residential aged care homes across Australia.

The program not only brings intergenerational benefits to the students and residents, it is a way of showcasing the variety of work in the caring industry – and how fulfilling it can be. The message is that the industry is more than just personal care, but offers a range of jobs including nursing, community/lifestyle co-ordinators, administration and management including marketing, HR, IT and property management.

As a result of the company acquiring a number of aged care homes and a recruitment strategy to attract more males, there has been an increase from 254 to 304 male carers in the organisation from 2015 to 2017. In the same period, the number of males in nursing and midwifery in Mercy Health hospitals and clinics jumped from 174 to 280.

Download the case study below to find out more.