The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated the long-standing skills shortages in the health workforce across countries. Equipping health workforces with the right skills is essential to responding to future health crises, preparing for increasing use of digital technologies, and planning for demographic change. This work builds on previous initiatives undertaken by the OECD and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the area of skills assessment and anticipation. It 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 put in place appropriate policy responses.

This 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 policymakers to foster a better alignment with labour market needs. The analysis is based on initial desk research, interviews with institutions that are responsible for anticipating skill needs in the health workforce, and a virtual peer-learning workshop that included many of the interview participants.

Just over 70 stakeholders participated in interviews or completed questionnaires for this project. The research team is grateful for their time and insights as this report would not have been possible without them. A full list of participating institutions and interviewees is included in the Annex.

The work on this report was carried out jointly by the OECD and the ILO. The authors of the report were Annelore Verhagen (OECD), Katharine Mullock (OECD), and William Kemp (ILO). The work was supervised by Glenda Quintini (Skills Team Manager, OECD), Mark Keese (Head of the Skills and Employability division, OECD), Maren Hopfe (Technical Officer, Public and Private Services Unit, ILO), Christiane Wiskow (Health Services Specialist, ILO) and Olga Strietska-Ilina (Senior Skills and Employability Specialist, ILO). The report benefited from helpful comments provided by colleagues from the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs: Stefano Scarpetta (Director), Mark Pearson (Deputy Director), Stefano Piano and Patricia Navarro-Palau (Skills and Employability division), and Gaetan Lafortune and Ece Özcelik (Health division). It also benefitted from comments from colleagues in the ILO Employment Policy Department: Lucas Ng (Skills and Employability branch).

This report was produced with financial assistance from the ILO-OECD-WHO Working for Health Multi-Partner Trust Fund. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the official views of the OECD member countries, the ILO, or the Working for Health Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

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