Global Health Workforce Labor Market Projections for 2030

40 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2016

See all articles by Jenny X. Liu

Jenny X. Liu

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Yevgeniy Goryakin

University of East Anglia (UEA)

Akiko Maeda

World Bank

Tim Bruckner

University of California, Irvine

Richard M. Scheffler

University of California, Berkeley - School of Public Health

Date Written: August 10, 2016

Abstract

In low- and middle-income countries, scaling essential health interventions to achieve health development targets is constrained by the lack of skilled health professionals to deliver services. This paper takes a labor market approach to project future health workforce demand based on an economic model that projects economic growth, demographics, and health coverage, and using health workforce data (1990-2013) for 165 countries from the World Health Organization's Global Health Observatory. The demand projections are compared with the projected growth in health worker supply and health worker "needs" as estimated by the World Health Organization to achieve essential health coverage. The model predicts that by 2030 global demand for health workers will rise to 80 million workers, double the current (2013) stock of health workers. The supply of health workers is expected to reach 65 million over the same period, resulting in a worldwide shortage of 15 million health workers. Growth in the demand for health workers will be highest among upper-middle-income countries, driven by economic growth and population growth and aging, resulting in the largest predicted shortages, which may fuel global competition for skilled health workers. Middle-income countries will face workforce shortages because their demand will exceed supply. By contrast, low-income countries will face low growth in demand and supply, but they will face workforce shortages because their needs will exceed supply and demand. In many low-income countries, demand may stay below projected supply, leading to the paradoxical phenomenon of unemployed ( "surplus" ) health workers in those countries facing acute "needs-based" shortages.

Keywords: Health Care Services Industry, Rural Labor Markets, Labor Policies, Health Service Management and Delivery, Labor Markets

Suggested Citation

Liu, Jenny X. and Goryakin, Yevgeniy and Maeda, Akiko and Bruckner, Tim and Scheffler, Richard M., Global Health Workforce Labor Market Projections for 2030 (August 10, 2016). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7790. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2836537

Jenny X. Liu (Contact Author)

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)

Third Avenue and Parnassus
San Francisco, CA 94143
United States

Yevgeniy Goryakin

University of East Anglia (UEA) ( email )

Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7TJ
United Kingdom

Akiko Maeda

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Tim Bruckner

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Richard M. Scheffler

University of California, Berkeley - School of Public Health ( email )

405 Warren Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-643-4100 (Phone)
510-643-8614 (Fax)

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