Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Results of Largest Study of Public Health Workforce Published

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and de Beaumont Foundation released the results from the largest-ever study of the public health workforce. "The Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) points to major changes for our nation's public health system: 38 percent of state public health workers plan to leave the public health workforce by 2020, either to retire or to pursue positions in other sectors. Maintaining a strong public health workforce is vital to protecting U.S. health."  For a news release and infographic.

Key findings included:

  • Considerable workforce turnover. According to the survey, 38 percent of workers plan to leave their current position before 2020. Of those planning to leave, 25 percent plan to retire and 13 percent plan to leave for a position outside of public health. Of note, those most likely to leave for reasons other than retirement include individuals aged 25-40, racial and ethnic minorities, and those with fewer than 10 years of experience in public health.
  • Progress on pay gaps by gender and race. Pay disparity in public health is better than the private sector and other areas of government, but more work remains to be done. Women and people of color make less than their white male counterparts despite the fact that the public health workforce is predominantly female and relatively diverse. On average, both women and people of color in state public health agencies earn 90 to 95 cents on the dollar compared to their male and white counterparts, after matching for seniority, experience, and educational attainment. There is no pay gap between Asian staff and their white counterparts. 
  • Need for continued efforts to improve diversity. Only 7 percent of public health workers are Hispanic/Latino, compared to 17 percent of the general population. However, both the Black and Asian public health workforce are represented in proportion to the population as a whole, at 13 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Nevertheless, 70 percent of the workforce identifies as white, indicating room for improvement in supporting people of color in public health.
Read entire article.

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