The future of the Australian midwifery workforce – impacts of ageing and workforce exit on the number of registered midwives



      Ensuring an adequate supply of the midwife workforce will be essential to meet the future demands for maternity care within Australia.


      Aim: To project the overall number of midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and the timing of their retirement to 2043 based upon the ageing of the population.
      Methods: Using data on the number of registered midwives released by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia we calculated the five-year cumulative attrition rate of each five-year age group. This attrition rate was then utilized to estimate the number of midwives registered in each five-year time period from 2018 to 2043. We then estimated the number of midwives that would be registered after also accounting for stated retirement intentions.


      Between 2018 and 2023 the overall number of registered midwives will decline from 28,087 to 26,642. After this time there is expected to be growth in the total number, reaching 28,392 in 2028 and 55,747 in 2043. If midwives did relinquish their registration at a rate indicated in previous workforce satisfaction surveys, the overall number of registered midwives would decline to 19,422 in 2023, and remain below 2018 levels until 2038.


      Due to the age distribution of the current registered midwifery workforce the imminent retirement of a large proportion of the workforce will see a decline in the number of registered midwives in the coming years. Additional retirement due to workforce dis-satisfaction may exacerbate this shortfall.


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