Growth continues: number of nursing staff continues to rise

Status: 05/10/2022 3:35 p.m

The care industry continues to gain in importance. The number of people employed in nursing professions in Germany rose to 1.67 million in 2021. “24-hour care” in private households remains a problem.

In the past year, the number of nursing staff in Germany has continued to rise. In 2021, around 1.67 million people were employed in care subject to social security contributions, as the Federal Employment Agency announced on the “Careers’ Day”. That was around 44,300 more people than a year earlier. The increase is spread across both full-time and part-time employees.

In geriatric care, the number of employees rose within a year by around 12,700 to 627,900, in healthcare by 31,600 to 1.04 million – despite the effects of the corona pandemic and the shortage of skilled workers.

Steady increase since 2017

The industry has been growing continuously since 2017. In geriatric care, the number of employees increased by twelve percent in this period, in health care by nine percent. According to the Nuremberg statisticians, the growth in employment was only five percent across all occupations.

Despite the increase in employment, there are still many vacancies in nursing. There are currently 5,400 unemployed for every 12,900 vacancies for healthcare professionals. The relationship is reversed for the less qualified helpers – there are significantly more applicants than positions. The Federal Agency therefore promotes the training and further education of nursing staff.

Care in private households partly in the gray area

According to the Advisory Council for Integration and Migration (SVR), the many foreign carers in German private households urgently need protection from exploitation and excessive demands. “According to German law, one person alone cannot provide “round-the-clock” care,” warns the SVR in its annual report.

It can be assumed “that the care arrangements are mainly in legal gray areas and that placement and dispatching agencies often work dubiously”. Often only informal agreements are made between the foreign workers employed in the household – mostly women from Eastern Europe – and the relatives of those in need of care.

A simple prohibition of such employment relationships is simply not possible due to the importance of these arrangements. Stricter regulation could also lead to “the system collapsing”. On the other hand, it would be legally feasible to only use caregivers in households where only temporary support in everyday life is required, which people without formal nursing qualifications could also provide. The care could then be a supplement to family care or outpatient services.

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