Every second nurse considers leaving public sector at least once a month

Published Monday 08 June, 2020

Press release by Via Ritzau

More than 50% of nurses consider swapping life in the public sector for the private sector at least once a month, and 25% several times a week. These are the results of a new survey by job board Ofir.dk of nurses in Denmark’s five regions.

These high numbers surprised Karsten Vikke, ofir.dk’s CEO. “A big slice of a crucial profession is considering leaving the sector,” he says. “It may not surprise many that the public health sector is under pressure, but I think few imagined that so many are thinking of moving elsewhere. This could have major consequences if not taken seriously.”

Of the respondents in the survey, 89% work in the public sector, and the main motives for changing sector are pay, duties and a desire to work normal hours. The survey shows that nurses aged 30-49 are particularly concerned about their working hours. 71% of respondents said that pay was a significant or very significant factor in wanting to change job.

“Shift work and children do not sit well together,” says Vikke. “This is one of the results of the survey. More surprising, perhaps, is that pay is also such an important factor for nurses. Compared to other surveys, it actually appears to be more important than in many other professions. If this is not addressed, there is a major risk of the public health sector facing even greater shortages in the future.”

Nursing vacancies are difficult to fill. According to unemployment fund DSA, unemployment in the profession is down around 1%, and many jobs advertised on the country’s job boards do not get sufficient qualified applicants, leading managers to use alternative networks and channels to fill positions.

“We’re in contact with this group daily when it comes to getting positions filled,” says Vikke. “Traditional job boards are not always enough. As the survey also shows, there are more nurses using social media than visiting job boards. This is a trend we’re also seeing in other professions. To fill vacancies, you need to combine traditional job ads with things like social media.”

The survey was conducted in May/June 2020 in the form of a questionnaire sent to 4,000 nurses and shared online on forums for nurses. A total of 350 nurses participated in the survey, spanning all age groups and all of the country’s five regions.