Useful information

Data, facts and figures on professions with a workforce shortage, the migration of health personnel and the rise in staffing levels in the WHO European Region.


rear view. confident paramedics stepping to the rescue.
Photo: AdobeStock – ASDF

Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom were the main countries of destination in absolute terms for foreign-trained doctors and nurses. In Ireland, Norway and Switzerland the number of foreign-trained medical doctors entering the health labour market in 2019 was even greater than the number of domestic graduates.

Source: Health and care workforce in Europe: time to act. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2022


percent was the average rise in the number of medical doctors, nurses and midwives between 2010 and 2020 in the 53 Member States of the WHO European Region. The WHO Regional Office for Europe extends from Kazakhstan to Portugal and from Iceland to Turkey. In the West Asian Member States this increase was highest at 36 percent, followed by the West European Member States at 26 percent and the South European Member States at 15 percent. In contrast, in the Central Asian and East European Member States there was a decrease of 15 and six percent respectively.

Source: Health and care workforce in Europe: time to act. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe; 2022

Tired doctor struggling to consult people vector illustration. Crowd of upset patients including children, senior people and people with disabilities. Health workforce shortage, medicine concept
Illustration: AdobeStock – Bro Vector


out of 29 countries sent information on a shortage of nursing professionals for the 2022 report on labour shortages and surpluses by the European Labour Authority. Norway and Switzerland also took part in the survey, besides the 27 countries in the European Union. The “Top 5” professions with a workforce shortage also included bricklayers and related workers, carpenters and joiners, heavy truck and lorry drivers, and also metal working machine tool setters and operators.

Source: Report on labour shortages and surpluses. European Labour Authority, 2022