Australians are increasingly socially aware, but there are a number of areas where we're falling short. Here are three careers for those that want to help.
Among the developed nations of the world, there are few that can hold a candle to Australia in terms of social awareness and a desire to promote positive outcomes for all citizens. The signs of that are everywhere. We're willing to pay more to purchase sustainable products. We'll gladly accept higher taxes if it means helping those less fortunate. And, despite our large and thriving mining industry, we're moving toward renewable energy faster than any other country.
Those are all great things, of course, but we can do more.
I say this because, despite all of the big-picture advancements we're making in these areas, it turns out we're not doing such a great job in a number of other important areas. Our rate of volunteerism is declining. We've created an awful precedent with regard to asylum seekers that's now being replicated elsewhere. And we're seeing a steady increase in poverty rates across the country.
To address these problems and many others is going to take the dedication of a new generation of civic-minded individuals who make serving the public good their raison d'être. If you'd like to be one of them, here's a look at three vital yet underserved careers that you can pursue. They're all within in-demand fields here in Australia, and individuals that take them on will do a world of good.
There's a social crisis brewing in Australia, and it's all about our ageing population. In 2017, the share of people living here aged 65 or above hit 15%, and that's just the beginning. That figure is projected to increase to 23% by 2066. As that happens, it's going to place a massive amount of pressure on our nation's healthcare system. The first signs of it are already appearing, with a large and growing shortage of registered nurses throughout the system. Experts predict that there will be a need for 123,000 new registered nurses by 2030, and we're nowhere close to producing enough qualified candidates. That's why anyone looking for a career that can make a real social impact should make nursing their first choice.
Another critical line of work that's chronically short on talented, caring people is social work. With homelessness and poverty on the rise and substance abuse becoming a major problem in cities and towns from coast to coast, the demand for government social services is growing at a rapid clip. The problem is that there are not many people training to fill the variety of positions that are becoming available in the field, not to mention the new ones that will be necessary in the coming years. That's a real shame in a country like ours, which shows no shortage of empathy for those in need of assistance. Plus, you can take community service courses to train for many of these positions completely online, so there's no excuse not to choose social work as your career.
In Australia, we take climate change more seriously than many other nations do. Why? It's because we live in a country that's quite vulnerable to its worst effects. From wildfires that are growing in scale and intensity, to coastal flooding that's threatening our most populous cities, we're already on the front lines. As a nation, we're making some great strides toward protecting our environment, but the truth is that we've got a long way to go. That's what makes environmental engineering such an important part of our country's future. Environmental engineers work to help governments, businesses, and other organizations develop solutions to protect the environment and guard against some of the worst repercussions of climate change. We're going to need a small army of them to make it through the next few decades, and right now, there's such a shortage that we're importing them from overseas. With the stakes as high as they are, there is perhaps no better career for any Australian that wants to make a real difference in the world.
It's important to realize that this list is by no means exhaustive. It's just a small slice of some of the most in-demand socially-critical careers available right now. In truth, there's no shortage of options for anyone who's looking for a career that offers the chance to make a real and lasting impact on their community or the world at large. The three mentioned here are, of course, great places to start, though.
The bottom line is this: Australia and its' citizens have a reputation for being socially-aware and big-hearted. We show it in all kinds of ways both large and small, but there's always more to be done. So if you want to choose a career that matters, and will allow you to help those around you and the country that you love, the ball's in your court. And if you answer the call, everyone will be better off for it.
Andrej Kovacevic is a freelance tech blogger and digital marketing specialist with a love of all things digital. When not writing about the latest gadgets, he's apt to be found discussing social issues and the news of the day.