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2016 Conference Presentation

Workforce Germany

6 September 2016

Attracting and retaining workforce in the long-term care sector: the German case

Matthias von Schwanenflügel, Directorate-General ‘Demographic Change, Senior Citizens, Non-statutory Welfare’, Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Berlin, Germany


The need for action to ensure the skilled labour force in geriatric care is indisputable. Surveys of the Federal Employment Agency revealed that in 2015, on average 100 job vacancies were met by only 31 skilled geriatric nurses registered as seeking employment. Due to the demographic developments (ageing populations) this situation will continue to aggravate. In 2030 there will be a shortage of 250.000 trained nurses in Germany.

We need a holistic approach to solve this challenge, to include:

1.Reform of LTC law to modernize the system and secure more money.
2.Helping families and relatives with a modernized care giving leave act.
3.Geriatric care training and qualification campaign to encourage people to pick up the training.
4.Reform of nursing professions to modernize the training and profession.

Germany has implemented and is still discussing the last step of an extensive reform of the LTC law which will add more than 5 billion Euros on top of the current system. The reform will affect the wages of professional care givers as well. A reform of the care-giving leave act was implemented in 2015 which supports families and relatives with their often difficult task of caring.

To ensure that the demand for qualified personnel in geriatric care is met, the Federal Government started the ‘Geriatric care training and qualification campaign’. Positive trend in the number of trainees: the school year 2013/2014 marked a new peak with more than 26,700 new staff nationwide starting geriatric care training. At present the Deutscher Bundestag is discussing a bill to modernize the nursing training and profession. With the reform having been prepared for many years we seek to combine the training courses in geriatric care, nursing care and paediatric nursing care, which have been separately regulated to date, thus creating a new generalist nursing training in the Act on Nursing Professions. – Germany is merging all three professions to one. Closely linked to the reform is a general modernization of the nursing training and the introduction of a new, standardized nursing profession. We are creating the foundation for a new career pattern which will meet the changing needs. The reform of nursing professions addresses the background situation and the described changes by means of the following objectives:

•improve the quality of the training,
•increase the flexibility of deployment and the mobility of nursing personnel,
•boost the attractiveness of the training and the nursing profession,
•wage adjustment


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