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Pflegemarkt: drohendem Arbeitskräftemangel kann entgegengewirkt werden


  • Erika Schulz


The rise in the number of old and very old persons, contingent on demographic factors, and the substantial reduction in the number of people of working age present a major challenge to the care industry. Although many of those needing care today are looked after by family members at home, they are increasingly reliant on the support of out-patient care services for this often physically demanding and mentally stressful task. Consequently, these people frequently need to be looked after in care homes. 630,000 staff were employed full-time in the long-term care workforce in 2009. Taking into consideration the demographic development, and if the percentage of people in the population needing care and the percentage of care workers in the labor force both remain constant, then we can expect a large gap in the labor market for long-term care workers. For purely demographic reasons, this gap will reach about 670,000 to one million care workers by 2050. However, this development is not inevitable. On the one hand, measures to increase labor supply, such as higher immigration, a rise in the full-employment rate, workers remaining in the care labor market longer, and maximizing the attractiveness of the nursing profession for men, might counteract this development. On the other hand, the need for care might rise less than pure demographic calculations suggest through changed attitudes to health, medical advances, and increased rehabilitation and prevention measures. If it were possible to shift the care rate by 5 years in older age groups, the gap in the care market would close significantly. Die demographisch bedingte Zunahme alter und sehr alter Personen, verbunden mit der deutlichen Verringerung der Personen im erwerbsfähigen Alter, stellt für den Bereich der Pflege eine große Herausforderung dar. Ein Großteil der Pflegebedürftigen wird zwar heute durch Familienangehörige zu Hause betreut, die jedoch bei dieser häufig körperlich schweren und psychisch belastenden Tätigkeit in zunehmendem Maße auf die Unterstützung durch ambulante Pflegedienste angewiesen sind. Oftmals wird eine Betreuung im Pflegeheim erforderlich. Insgesamt waren im Jahr 2009 630 000 Vollzeitkräfte im Bereich der Langzeitpflege beschäftigt. Betrachtet man allein die demographische Entwicklung und hält einerseits den Anteil der Pflegebedürftigen an der Bevölkerung und andererseits die Anteile der in der Pflege Beschäftigten an den Erwerbspersonen konstant, dann ist mit einer großen Lücke auf dem Arbeitsmarkt im Bereich der Langzeitpflege zu rechnen. Im Jahr 2050 könnten rein demographisch bedingt circa 670 000 bis eine Million Arbeitskräfte fehlen. Diese Entwicklung muss jedoch nicht zwangsläufig eintreten. Zum einen könnten Maßnahmen zur Erhöhung des Arbeitskräfteangebots - wie etwa verstärkte Zuwanderungen, eine Erhöhung der Vollzeiterwerbstätigenquote, ein längeres Verbleiben im Pflegearbeitsmarkt und die Erhöhung der Attraktivität des Pflegeberufes auch für Männer - dem entgegenwirken. Zum anderen könnten die Pflegebedarfe durch ein anderes Gesundheitsverhalten, medizinischen Fortschritt sowie verstärkte Rehabilitations- und Präventionsmaßnahmen weniger stark steigen, als rein demographisch errechnet. Würde es gelingen, die Pflegeraten um fünf Jahre in höhere Altersjahre zu verschieben, dann würde sich die Lücke auf dem Pflegemarkt merklich reduzieren.

Suggested Citation

  • Erika Schulz, 2012. "Pflegemarkt: drohendem Arbeitskräftemangel kann entgegengewirkt werden," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 79(51/52), pages 3-17.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwob:79-51-1

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    Cited by:

    1. Schulz, Erika & Geyer, Johannes, 2013. "Societal Change, Care Need and Long-Term Care Workforce in Selected European Countries," EconStor Preprints 128602, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    2. Schulz, Erika, 2013. "Ageing, Care Need and Long-Term Care Workforce in Germany," EconStor Preprints 128597, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.

    More about this item


    Long-term care workforce; labor market; persons in need of care; . - demographic development; prevalence of care need;

    JEL classification:

    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior


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