Health policies and data

Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries

Right Jobs, Right Skills, Right Places

In series:OECD Health Policy Studiesview more titles

Published on March 15, 2016


Health workers are the cornerstone of health systems, playing a central role in providing health services to the population and improving health outcomes. The demand and supply of health workers have increased over time in all OECD countries, with jobs in the health and social sector accounting for more than 10% of total employment now in several OECD countries. This publication reviews key trends and policy priorities on health workforce across OECD countries, with a particular focus on doctors and nurses given the preeminent role that they have traditionally played in health service delivery.


SUMMARIESavailable in 6 languages

English Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries (Summary in English)
French Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries (Summary in French) Les politiques relatives au personnel de santé dans les pays de l’OCDE
Spanish Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries (Summary in Spanish) Politicas publicas sobre el personal de la salud en paises de la OCDE
German Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries (Summary in German) Die personalpolitischen Strategien der OECD-Länder für das Gesundheitswesen
Japanese Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries (Summary in Japanese) OECD加盟国の医療労働力政策
Italian Health Workforce Policies in OECD Countries (Summary in Italian) La forza lavoro del settore sanitario nei Paesi dell’OCSE


Foreword and Acknowledgments
Executive summary
Key findings
Analytical framework of health labour markets
Trends in health labour markets and policy priorities to address workforce issues
Education and training for doctors and nurses: What's happening with numerus clausus policies?
Trends and policies affecting the international migration of doctors and nurses to OECD countries
Geographic imbalances in the distribution of doctors and health care services in OECD countries
Skills use and skills mismatch in the health sector: What do we know and what can be done?
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European-Union Note: Chapter 3 and Chapter 6 have benefited from financial support from the European Commission. The contents of these chapters are the sole responsibility of the OECD and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.






Key data


Note: For Portugal, the data relate to all doctors licensed to practice
(resulting in a large over-estimation of the number of practising
doctors in Portugal, of around 30%).


Notes: Data in Chile refer to all nurses who are licensed to practice
(less than one-third are professional nurses with a university degree).
Austria reports only nurses employed in hospital.


further reading




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