Nursing staff in Germany: mostly female, part-time and in more demand than ever before

Health care facilities in Germany have been suffering from a shortage of qualified nurses for years. Among all occupational groups with a staff shortage, qualified nurses are at first place. To counter this shortage, it is worth taking a look at who is entering this profession in Germany.

08 May 2024 | Press release no.19

Women in part-time roles account for the largest share of qualified nurses

In 2023, 1.69 million qualified nurses across all levels of seniority were in employment subject to social security contributions. That is 10,000 more employees than in the previous year. 82 per cent of qualified nurses, i.e. 1.39 million, are women, 643,000 of whom work full-time and 747,000 part-time. Approximately 304,000 men are employed in the nursing sector – 216,000 full-time and 88,000 part-time (see Tables 1 and 2 - available in German).

Nursing jobs remain appealing for foreign workers

Since 2022, the increased levels of employment in the nursing sector have been exclusively attributable to foreign nationals. Of the total number of qualified nurses, 270,000 employees (16 per cent) are foreign nationals, which is approximately 27,000 more than in the previous year. In 2013, the same figure was just five per cent. In 2023, the largest proportion of qualified nurses from abroad (65 per cent) originated from third countries, with fewer coming from other EU countries (35 per cent). In 2018, just under half of the employees from abroad were from EU countries.

Demand for qualified nursing staff remains very high

The BA has also identified a significant shortage of skilled labour for qualified nurses in 2023: there are only 44 jobseekers for every 100 registered qualified nursing jobs. The number of workless nursing assistants, by contrast, significantly exceeds the number of registered vacancies: there are 100 registered vacancies for 380 jobseekers, an increase of 57 people in comparison with the previous year. A total of 35,000 vacancies for workers in the nursing sector were registered on average in 2023, approximately 3,000 fewer than in 2022.

Further training increases employment opportunities - BA provides support

In the period from July 2018 to June 2023, 44,000 people completed their retraining to be a qualified nurse. Six months after the end of their further training, approximately 90 per cent of course participants were in employment subject to social insurance contributions. Of the 53,900 people who, according to the Federal Statistical Office, started their vocational training to be a qualified nurse in 2023 (provisional figures), just over one in 8 was funded by the Federal

Employment Agency as part of a further training course.

A detailed overview of figures and their development, on wages, unemployment and the demand for labour in the nursing sector, for example, is available in the brochure The Labour market situation in the nursing sector (available in German) from the “Reports: Focus on the labour market” series.