An extra 2300 jobs in the health and welfare sector will be created in Ballarat over the next four years according to projections from the Regional Australia Institute.
In May last year there were 11,400 jobs in the healthcare and social assistance sector in Ballarat, with the number predicted to rise to 13,700 jobs by May 2023 - a 20 per cent increase.
Health and welfare is the biggest employer by industry in Ballarat, employing just over 18 per cent of working adults in 2016 according to the latest census figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Retail trade, and education and training were the next biggest employers accounting for 12 per cent and 11.1 per cent of employment respectively.
Over the next five years, we are going to see significant demand for workers across the country, with registered nurses, child care workers and aged care staff topping the list of occupations.Dr Kim Houghton
As the city's population increases, its proportion of older residents grows, and Ballarat Health Services continues to expand, demand for health care and social assistance workers will continue to grow.
According to the RAI, there are currently 61 job advertisements for medical practitioners and nurses, and 34 vacancies for health diagnostic and therapy professionals in the Ballarat region.
Speaking at the National Rural Health Conference on Monday, RAI chief executive Dr Kim Houghton said the health industry would see the biggest growth in job numbers of any industry over the next five years, with 250,000 more jobs nationwide by May 2023.
"Over the next five years, we are going to see significant demand for workers across the country, with registered nurses, child care workers and aged care staff topping the list of occupations," Dr Houghton said.
Other jobs that will see significant growth include welfare workers, psychologists, general practitioners and physiotherapists.
Dr Houghton said many roles would require high skill levels and university degrees, but the industry also offered lower skilled entry level positions. Jobs associated with the health and caring industries such as cooks, cleaners, receptionists and office managers are also likely to see growth.
"At the RAI, we are encouraging more regions to put this industry on the radar of their regional economic strategies, as it is a significant employer with great growth potential," Dr Houghton said.
The sector accounts for 12.5 per cent of high income jobs in regional Australia which pay more than $104,000.
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.