Background: This article represents the first attempt to explore remuneration in Human Resources for Health (HRH), comparing wage levels, ranking and dispersion of 16 HRH occupational groups in 20 countries (Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, Republic of South Africa (RSA), Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom (UK), and United States of America (USA)). The main aim is to examine to what extent the wage rankings, standardized wage levels, and wage dispersion are similar between the 16 occupational groups and across the selected countries and what factors can be shown to be related to the differences that emerge.Method: The pooled data from the continuous, worldwide, multilingual WageIndicator web survey between 2008 and 2011 (for selected HRH occupations, n=49,687) have been aggregated into a data file with median or mean remuneration values for 300 occupation/country cells. Hourly wages are expressed in standardized US Dollars (USD), all controlled for purchasing power parity (PPP) and indexed to 2011 levels.Results: The wage ranking of 16 HRH occupational groups is fairly similar across countries. Overall Medical Doctors have the highest and Personal Care Workers the lowest median wages. Wage levels of Nursing & Midwifery Professionals vary largely. Health Care Managers have lower earnings than Medical Doctors in all except six of the 20 countries. The largest wage differences are found for the Medical Doctors earning 20 times less in Ukraine than in the US, and the Personal Care Workers, who earn nine times less in the Ukraine than in the Netherlands. No support is found for the assumption that the ratio across the highest and lowest earning HRH occupations is similar between countries: it varies from 2.0 in Sweden to 9.7 in Brazil. Moreover, an increase in the percentage of women in an occupation has a large downward effect on its wage rank.Conclusions: This article breaks new ground by investigating for the first time the wage levels, ranking, and dispersion of occupational groups in the HRH workforce across countries. The explorative findings illustrate that the assumption of similarity in cross-country wage ranking holds, but that wage dispersion and wage levels are not similar. These findings might contribute to the policies for health workforce composition and the planning of healthcare provisions.

, , , , , , ,,
Human Resources for Health
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Tijdens, K.G, de Vries, D.H, & Steinmetz, S.M. (2013). Health workforce remuneration: Comparing wage levels, ranking, and dispersion of 16 occupational groups in 20 countries. Human Resources for Health, 11(1), 1–15. doi:10.1186/1478-4491-11-11