Ageing Workforce in an Ageing Society

How many health professionals will the Swiss healthcare system need by 2030?

A “care crisis” and “shortage of basic care” are concepts that give cause for concern. So far, the predicted shortfall in care has yet to materialise. The latest reports from the Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) do confirm, however, that Switzerland will indeed experience a considerable shortage of qualified health professionals in the medium and long term.

The Careum Foundation is investigating the “Ageing Workforce” in the healthcare system. The issue is really important, because the number of school leavers is declining, more people are working part time, large numbers are leaving the profession and the retirement rate is expected to double from 2020.

Additional workers required

A good 190,000 or so people are currently employed in the three most important sectors of the healthcare system. Studies show that even highly conservative assumptions predict that 120,000 to 190,000 additional workers will be needed by 2030. At least two-thirds of these will be needed to replace those personnel who will have reached retirement age by then. This calls for a lot of capacity in terms of training.

The next 20 years should see as many health professionals trained as are actually employed in the healthcare system today. If Switzerland wants to have high-quality care for the entire population in 15 to 20 years' time, a tremendous effort will be required in the areas of training and continuing education – in terms of both the numbers and content involved.

This is why Careum is hoping to raise awareness among decision markers in the care and training system with its Working Paper 1.

Working Paper 1

Jaccard Ruedin, H., & Weaver, F. (2009). Ageing Workforce in an Ageing Society. Zürich: Careum. PDF