Health Workforce



The OECD advises countries on how to meet future demand for health professionals and how to manage the supply of health workers, by reviewing policies related to education and training, continuous professional development, geographic distribution and immigration. 


The OECD also assesses changes in the scope of practice of healthcare providers, and the impact that these changes might have on access, quality and efficiency in health service delivery.

Health Workforce

RECENT REPORTS on health workforce

Equipping Health Workers with the Right Skills

Equipping Health Workers with the Right Skills: Skills Anticipation in the Health Workforce 

Released 15 December 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the long-standing skills shortages in the health workforce across countries. Equipping health workers with the right skills is essential to respond to future health crises, to prepare for increasing use of digital technologies, and to plan for demographic change.

This joint report by the OECD and ILO aims to enable more resilient health workforces by helping countries to assess future demand in terms of both numbers of health workers and skills needs, and to prepare appropriate policy responses.

The report provides a comparative overview of practices in 16 countries to anticipate future skill needs in the health workforce, and of how such information is used by policy makers and social partners to foster a better alignment with labour market needs. Analysis is based on interviews with institutions that are responsible for anticipating skill needs in the health workforce, a virtual peer-learning workshop and desk research.


Empowering the health workforce - Strategies to make the most of the digital revolution 

Released 11 November 2020

Digital technologies offer unique opportunities to strengthen health systems. However, the digital infrastructure, interoperability standards, and data sharing only provide the tools, which on their own cannot transform the health systems, but need to be put to productive use by the health workers.
This report discusses how to engage and empower the health workforce to make the most of the digital revolution by:

  • building trust in the benefits of digital health technologies among health workers and patients;
  • ensuring that digital technologies truly meet the needs of health workers and their patients;
  • advancing expertise and skills needed within the health sector for effective co-design, deployment, and use of digital health technologies;
  • adapting payment systems and the organisation of work such that health workers can timely and effectively start using digital solutions and tools.

This report was prepared for the 2020 German Presidency of the Council of the European Union and with support from the German Federal Ministry of Health. It was released at the conference “Digital Health 2020 - EU on the Move", organised on 11 November by the German Federal Ministry of Health.  


Recent Trends in International Migration of Doctors, Nurses and Medical Students

Released 25 July 2019

This report describes recent trends in the international migration of doctors and nurses in OECD countries. Over the past decade, the number of doctors and nurses has increased in many OECD countries, and foreign-born and foreign-trained doctors and nurses have contributed to a significant extent. New in-depth analysis of the internationalisation of medical education shows that in some countries (e.g. Israel, Norway, Sweden and the United States) a large and growing number of foreign-trained doctors are people born in these countries who obtained their first medical degree abroad before coming back. The report includes four case studies on the internationalisation of medical education in Europe (France, Ireland, Poland and Romania) as well as a case study on the integration of foreign-trained doctors in Canada.  


Data on Health Workforce

To access all our data on health workforce, go to the dataset on Healthcare Resources in OECD.Stat.

Health at a Glance 2021 - OECD Indicators

Health workforce chapter in Health at a Glance 2021 - OECD Indicators:

Health at a Glance - Europe 2022

Health workforce data in Health at a Glance: Europe 2022 - State of Health in the EU Cycle:

Health at a Glance - Asia/Pacific 2022

Health workforce data in Health at a Glance - Asia/Pacific 2022:



Working for Health is a joint programme of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a strategic, intersectoral, multi-stakeholder programme that leverages the convening power and mandates of the United Nations and the OECD, its rights-based approaches and standards, and the expertise, resources and support from its diverse constituents and partners to expand and transform the health and social workforce. 
We work hand in hand with governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, education and training providers, employers, professional associations, regulators, and trade unions.
Further details on the Working for Health programme are available in the brochure and on the Working for Health website.

May 2018 - OECD, in partnership with ILO and WHO, establishes UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund to drive forward recommendations from the Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth

The three organisations signed a memorandum of understanding on 23 May 2018 to establish a United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF). The fund enables partners to pool resources and drive implementation of the action plan.

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September 2016 - United Nations Secretary-General High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth: Final report and recommendations presented at the margins of the UN General Assembly

In March 2016, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially established a High-level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. The Commission was co-chaired by Mr François Hollande, President of France, and Mr Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa, and co-vice-chaired by Dr. Margaret Chan (WHO), Mr. Guy Ryder (ILO) and Mr. Angel Gurría (OECD). 

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