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Increasing labour demand in the healthcare sector has been confirmed by the latest European Vacancy Monitor (EVM) published by the European Commission. Employment in the EU healthcare sector has grown almost +2% per annum between 2008 and 2012. This is the result of the combined effects of an ageing population, advances in technology and treatments, people expecting higher quality service and greater emphasis on preventative care. In 2012 almost one million people were recruited to work in healthcare.
Nevertheless the Monitor reflected an overall falling demand in the EU labour market, with -6% fewer vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with the last quarter of 2011. The number of people hired was down in the fourth quarter of 2012 in most of the main occupational groups and fell for professionals for the first time since the second quarter of 2010 (by -5%).
The professions with the highest growth in employees, after personal care workers in health services, were software applications developers and analysts, administrative and specialised secretaries, mining, manufacturing and construction supervisors and primary school and early childhood teachers.
László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said: "The European Vacancy Monitor allows jobseekers to identify which sectors offer the best prospects of finding a job. It also helps public authorities to invest in training people with the right skills to avoid shortages. The latest report confirms that healthcare is one of the sectors with the greatest potential for job creation in Europe and so where investment in training is urgent."
Personal care in health services ranked first among the fastest growing occupations between the fourth quarter of 2011 and the fourth quarter of 2012. Three other healthcare jobs are ranked in the top 25 growing professions: nursing and midwifery professionals, medical and pharmaceutical technicians, and other health associated professionals e.g. dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists. In the medium-term, job prospects look most promising for nurses and midwives.
The report also highlights that a number of countries may have to deal with the challenge of an ageing workforce in the health sector. For example, more than 40% of the healthcare workforce in Bulgaria and the Baltic states is aged between 50 and 64, which is significantly higher than the EU average.
Hiring increases in the healthcare sector contrasts with the general trend reflected in the European Vacancy Monitor, with a fall of approximately -4% in hiring in the EU27 between the fourth quarters of 2012 and 2011. Hiring was down in most occupational groups and fell for the first time since the second quarter of 2010 for professionals. At the same time, hiring of those with tertiary education increased by +2% and may indicate that more professionals accepted jobs below their qualifications.