Reports 2021/04

Regional mobility and regional labor market participation among health workers and nurses educated in 2009

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Many municipalities report that it is difficult to get enough nurses, and the shortage of health workers and nurses will increase towards the year 2030 according to national projections made in Statistics Norway. As of today, we do not know much about how the situation will develop in the future at the regional level. To prepare the work of introducing a regional dimension in the calculations mentioned above, we study the behavior of health workers and nurses - both groups educated in 2009 - in terms of regional mobility over time and regional connection to the labor market. The regional division is based on the admission areas of the health trusts, with 19 admission areas in total.

An important issue is whether the health personnel in the long run choose to settle in the same region in which they grew up, and whether there are regional differences in this. We find that the proportion of nurses who nine years after graduating live in the same (admission) area as the area they lived in when they finished upper secondary school (at 16 years of age) is about 70 percent. However, there are large regional differences. Among the nurses who grew up in Finnmark, Helgeland and Oslo, large proportions (approx. 45 per cent) live in a different area in 2018 than the area when they were 16 years old. For health workers educated in 2009, we find that an even larger proportion (80 per cent) of the cohort resides in the same admission area nine years after graduating as the area of upbringing, and the heterogeneity over admission areas is even greater.

In the calculations for mobility based on the logit model, we find that moving to take an education increases the probability of living in a different region in 2018 than the upbringing area. However, the study does not provide an answer as to whether this is a causal effect or whether it is a selection effect that is due to people who in any case intend to move from the upbringing area choosing to study outside the upbringing area. We also find that the upbringing area and residential region as of 2018 are of great importance for the probability of living in another region in 2018 than the upbringing area. The effect related to the upbringing region as a 16-year-old, we associate with a push effect, while the effect related to the catchment area based on residential municipality in 2018, we associate with a pull effect. Large push effects and small pull effects are often associated with less centralized living areas.

With regard to occupational participation in the health and care sector (HC sector), we find virtually no statistically significant marginal effects related to region for both education groups when it is also controlled for differences in variables related to age, gender, family composition and immigrant background in the logit model. We also find no clear effects of children as is often found in other more general studies of occupational participation. However, further education in nursing has a relatively strong positive correlation with occupational participation. In the logit model for the choice between working part-time versus full-time in the HC sector, we find for both education groups that men are clearly more likely to work full-time than women with similar characteristics. Further education in nursing is positively correlated with full-time work, but the effect is weaker than the effect of gender. In addition, we find that there are significant regional effects associated with full-time work for both occupational groups.

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