Low wages are the biggest barrier to recruiting and retaining skilled workers in aged care, an Australian Services Union survey has shown.

While attention has focused on skills shortages in areas such as mining and accounting, the looming shortage of workers to help elderly, homeless and disabled people has been overlooked, the union says.

More than 1,200 workers in NSW responded to a union survey, in June and July but fewer than half said they intended to be in the non-government community sector in five years’ time.

While retirement may account for some departures in an ageing workforce, poor pay was the main reason workers gave for quitting.

Managers also cited poor pay as the main barrier to recruitment.

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