Welfare Support Workers
Welfare Support Workers provide support, information and advice to clients on emotional, financial, recreational, health, housing and other social welfare matters, and evaluate and coordinate the services of welfare and community service agencies.
assessing clients' needs and planning, developing and implementing educational, training and support programs
interviewing clients and assessing the nature and extent of difficulties
monitoring and reporting on the progress of clients
referring clients to agencies that can provide additional help
assessing community need and resources for health, welfare, housing, employment, training and other facilities and services
liaising with community groups, welfare agencies, government bodies and private businesses about community issues and promoting awareness of community resources and services
supporting families and providing education and care for children and disabled persons in adult service units, group housing and government institutions
supervising offenders on probation and parole
assisting young people to solve social, emotional and financial problems
preparing submissions for funding and resources, and reports to government bodies and other agencies
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. The latest data are for the five years from November 2021 to November 2026. Over this period, the number of workers:
- is expected to grow very strongly
- is likely to reach 94,700 by 2026.
Source: Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Notes: The number employed includes people who work in this occupation as their main job. People who work in more than one job are counted against the occupation they work the most hours in.
Employment projections figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Calculations based on these rounded figures may result in differences to the numbers that are displayed on this page. Employment projections data (including occupations) can be downloaded from the Employment Projections page.
Number of Workers
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, ABS seasonally adjusted data to November 2021 and Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026.
Earnings and hours
Around 63% of people employed as Welfare Support Workers work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is similar to the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 41 hours per week in their main job. This is similar to the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Median full-time earnings are $1,492 per week, this is lower than the all jobs median ($1,593):
- 3 in 4 workers earn more than $1,332
- 1 in 4 earn more than $1,721
Median hourly earnings are $40, this is similar to the all jobs median ($41 per hour).
Sources: Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average. Full-time median earnings and median hourly earnings: ABS, Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021. Compared to all jobs median.
Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)
|Earnings||Welfare Support Workers||All Jobs Average|
Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, May 2021, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
Most Welfare Support Workers work in the Health care and social assistance industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2021.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Welfare Support Workers||All Jobs Average|
Around 47% of Welfare Support Workers live outside of capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 38%.
South Australia has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The regions with the largest share of workers are:
- Adelaide - North
- Sydney - Inner South West
- Newcastle and Lake Macquarie
- Sydney - Parramatta
- Adelaide - South.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Welfare Support Workers is 43 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 45 to 54 years.
Females make up 74% of the workforce. This is 26 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Welfare Support Workers||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||3.2||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A formal qualification in society and culture, behavioural science, human welfare, community service, or another related field is usually needed to work as a Welfare Support Worker. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
- My Skills to compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes.
- AAPathways website to explore Community Services VET training pathways.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Welfare Support Workers||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||11.2||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||5.0||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Welfare Support Workers who are caring, compassionate and empathetic, and can communicate well with others.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Looking for ways to help people.
Talking to others.
Reading work related information.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
48%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
48%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
Teaching people how to do something.
43%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
34%Management of personnel resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, and choosing the best people for the job.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.
71%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
70%Therapy and counselling
Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
55%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
52%Philosophy and theology
Philosophical systems and religions, including their basic principles, values, ethics, ways of thinking, customs, practices, and impact on society.
51%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
50%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
41%Law and government
How our laws and courts work. Government rules and regulations, and the political system.
40%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
33%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
33%Medicine and dentistry
Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities, including preventive health-care measures.
32%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
Moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road.
28%Personnel and human resources
Recruiting and training people, managing pay and other entitlements (like sick leave), and negotiating pay and conditions.
Transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
14%Economics and accounting
Economics and accounting, the financial markets, banking and checking and reporting of financial data.
Foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Communicate by speaking.
Listen to and understand what people say.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Write in a way that people can understand.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Read and understand written information.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
45%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Come up with different ways of grouping things.
Do two or more things at the same time.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Pay attention to something without being distracted.
41%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
Remember things like words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
See details that are far away.
Use your eyes to quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
75%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
66%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
66%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
65%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
63%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
63%Checking compliance with standards
Deciding whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
63%Working with the public
Greeting or serving customers, clients or guests, and public speaking or performing.
62%Negotiating and resolving conflicts
Handling complaints and disagreements, and negotiating with people.
61%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
60%Helping and caring for others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, or emotional support.
59%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
59%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
59%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
59%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
58%Coordinating the work of a team
Getting members of a group to work together to finish a task.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
53%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
53%Scheduling work and activities
Working out the timing of events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
49%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
44%Providing office support
Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
99%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
Use electronic mail.
87%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
Work to strict deadlines.
86%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Work with people in a group or team.
83%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
83%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
81%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
81%Angry or unpleasant people
Deal with unpleasant, angry, or rude people.
80%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
80%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
Deal with conflict or disagreements.
73%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
72%Lead or coordinate a team
Lead others to do work activities.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
66%Disease or infection
Be exposed to disease or infections.
66%Repeating same tasks
Repeat the same tasks or activities (e.g., key entry) over and over, without stopping.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 21-1093.00 - Social and Human Service Assistants.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.