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Jobs, jobs and jobs. Politicians and news outlets talk and write a lot about jobs. The creation of it, the loss of jobs, and how they want to create more in agriculture, in IT, in logistics and even in coal mining (somebody pinch me please). News items, policy makers, governments air statements about the ambition to boost jobs in steel, agriculture, logistics, technology are great ánd needed.

The other day, however, a small youtube video struck me. Bernd Montag CEO of Siemens Healthineers AG during his opening address (in German) of a conference talked about how strange it is that there is so much talk about all the industries mentioned above, and so little about the healthcare sector while in Germany the healthcare sector is as big as an employer as the whole German automotive industry together.

Although I’m aware of how big the healthcare sector is and I’m always trying to get this point across to the Dutch Provinces – when they say they don’t have any formal role in healthcare anymore I like to point them out to the economic value and employability aspect of healthcare. In the U.S., healthcare became the biggest employer.

We all know healthcare costs are on the rise, demand is doubling so we have to come up with smart tooling like Digital Health.

Knowing the huge shortages in the workforce for healthcare, we really should take good care and attention to make healthcare a ‘sexy’ place to work again. With all the sentiment (including the press) of the past years about healthcare in budget cuts, long hours, high administrative burden and a lot of stress, youngsters choosing for healthcare as a career might decrease at an exponential pace.

First of all, we need to be mindful of the problems and solve them not only with a lens dominated by economics as costs but also with a lens of employability and long term thinking of having a sustainable workforce. Sadly, in all the debates on the change and innovation of health(care), although nurses are -hands down- in the majority, they almost never get to sit at the tables that decide about their work and roles. Given they also have the fastest growing job outlook (+15% > 2026) something that really has to change.

So taking care of the healthcare workforce, will also take care of ourselves once we are in need of healthcare, and will keep driving society also from an economic standpoint of view.

I’m not advocating for a lot more money, but to cherish the current and future workforce in healthcare.

About this column:

In a weekly column, alternately written by Maarten Steinbuch, Mary Fiers, Carlo van de Weijer, Lucien Engelen, Tessie Hartjes and Auke Hoekstra, Innovation Origins tries to find out what the future will look like. The six columnists, occasionally supplemented with guest bloggers, are all working in their own way on solutions for the problems of our time. So that tomorrow will be good. Here are all the previous episodes.

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash