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Publication 46 "Employees in the health sector"

Published in June 2009 as part of the series of Federal Health Reporting ("Gesundheitsberichterstattung des Bundes")

Booklet 46: Employees in the health sector. Source: © RKI Source: © Robert Koch-Institut

ISBN 978-3-89606-198-0
ISSN 1437-5478
German version only

Employees in the health sector – Booklet 46 (PDF, 1 MB, File does not meet accessibility standards.)

Some 4.3 million employees were working in the health sector in 2006, the equivalent of every ninth job in Germany. On the whole, the development of employment over the past few years has consolidated and increased the already considerable importance of the public health sector as an employer. Predictions on workforce development depend on many impacting factors. On the supply side, for example, it is important to estimate how many young people who train for a medical career actually work in the respective field and can thus replace those who are leaving these occupations. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible to estimate how many health-sector staff will immigrate to Germany or leave the country in the future. Nor can the effects of further medical and technical progress on employment be conclusively assessed. On the demand side, improvements in predicting changes in the population's age structure and morbidity spectrum are important for assessing the required size of the workforce.

Characteristic features of employment in the health sector include a high proportion of women, working in shifts, at night, on weekends and public holidays, and a high proportion of part-time staff. The foundations for good health care are laid by a wide range of expert skills and knowledge and the kind of cooperation between professional groups that is clearly focused on patients' needs. Physicians (with 288,400 practising in 2006) are particularly important for health care because they not only treat patients themselves, but also involve other health professionals in diagnosis, therapy and prevention. By far the most common occupations are nurses and carers (717,000) and medical and dental assistants (522,000).

Date: 30.06.2009