In the last quarter of 2019, 14.7 million people aged over 15 were employed in health occupations in the European Union (EU), representing over 7% of all persons employed and almost 4% of the total population.
According to the statistical office of the EU (Eurostat), these health jobs include medical doctors (1.9 million), nurses and midwives as well as their assistants (4.5 million), personal care workers (4.1 million), other health professionals and their associates (4.1 million).
Every evening at 20:00 in many European countries people clap at their doorsteps, windows and balconies to show them appreciation for their work during the coronavirus crisis.
Sweden has the highest share
The figures released by Eurostat show that among the EU Member States, Sweden recorded the highest share of health workers (12% of the employed), followed by Finland and Denmark (both 10%).
In contrast, the lowest shares were recorded in Cyprus, Poland, Latvia, Romania, Luxembourg, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia, where health workers represented around 4% of the employed.
Relative to population size, Sweden also recorded the highest share (7% of the total population), similarly followed by Finland, Denmark as well as the Netherlands (all 6%).
At the other end of the scale, the lowest shares were recorded similarly in Poland, Romania, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Latvia, Luxembourg, Hungary and Slovenia but also in Greece. In these nine EU Member States health workers represented only around 2% of the total population.
The vast majority are women
The vast majority of the health workers in the EU are women (78%). Over one third (36%) of people in health occupations in the EU are 50 years old or over, followed by those aged 35-49 (35%) and those less than 34 (29%).
According to Eurostat, in half (13 of 27) of the EU Member States, the largest share of health workers were aged over 50, with the highest share reported in Bulgaria (56%), followed by Estonia and Latvia (both 50%), Italy (45%) and Lithuania (42%).
In 11 EU Member States, people aged 35-49 accounted for the largest share of health workers, whilst in only three EU Member States health workers aged 15-34 represented the largest share: Malta (50%), Luxembourg (47%) and Cyprus (38%).