International Nurses Day

More employees now in care professions

07 May 2021 | Press release no.19


Despite the pandemic, the number of employees working in geriatric and health care is increasing. The shortage of skilled workers is high. The BA supports retraining and enters into cooperation agreements on fair migration.

More workers in geriatric and health care professions

The number of people employed in geriatric and health care has continued to rise despite the pandemic. In October – the month up to which data is currently available – there were about 1.77 million employees subject to social insurance contributions in the health and geriatric care sector. That represents 43,300 more than a year earlier. The entire health sector is one of the few sectors that was not affected by a decline in employment last year.

In the past five years, the number of employees in care professions subject to social insurance contributions has risen by an above-average 14 percent. Relative to all employees, the increase was eight percent.

More employees in 2020 as well – no decline

The BA cannot confirm the decline of 9,000 employees in care professions discussed in recent months from the data currently available. Although the number of employed geriatric nurses and nursing staff had fallen minimally in the months March to July 2020

(-0.5 percent). However, this seasonal decline in nursing is seen every year and was predominantly not due to the pandemic. This is due, for example, to the conclusion of apprenticeships and adjusted staffing processes before the summer holidays.

As early as August, the number of employees subject to social security contributions rose again above the March level. In addition, the values were consistently above the corresponding value of the previous year. The uncertainties of the first lockdown in spring 2020 have had a comparatively small impact on care professions.

Shortage of skilled workers in health and geriatric care

The BA has identified a clear shortage of skilled workers in both health and geriatric care. There are currently only 5,800 unemployed for every 12,700 registered jobs for health care professionals. In geriatric care, only 3,600 unemployed are registered for 12,800 jobs. In contrast, there are significantly more applicants than vacancies for geriatric assistants and nursing assistants.

The shortage of skilled workers continues to be considerable. On the one hand, demographic development and medical progress are leading to an increasing need for care personnel. On the other hand, the proportion of older employees in health care is increasing, so that skilled workers will have to be replaced here in the coming years to compensate for retirements. This is less true of geriatric care.

BA supports retraining and recruits from other countries

Since 2015, the BA has supported a total of 40,000 vocational continuing training courses leading to a degree in geriatric care and 6,000 in health care – among other measures as part of the “Training Campaign for Care Professions”. This support was provided both to the unemployed and the employed.

The BA also helps to recruit skilled workers and trainees for care professions abroad. In the last four years, almost 4,600 trained professionals and 600 trainees have been placed.  One focus is the “Triple Win” programme. Together with the Society for International Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit – GIZ), the BA works with countries such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Philippines and Tunisia. The BA is committed to fair migration and only works with countries that do not have their own shortage of care workers.


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