A global shortage of healthcare workers is setting off a worldwide battle for talent, as rich countries raid other nations’ medical systems for staff to care for their aging populations.

The competition has helped countries such as the U.S. and Australia replace some nurses who quit in record numbers during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. But it is also leaving hospitals in developing countries and some wealthier nations such as the U.K. worse off, as they lose staff to countries offering bigger paychecks.

Australia has been one of the most aggressive poachers, with offers of special bonuses and fast-tracked visas. An Australian advertising campaign in the British Isles this past winter featured workers with sunshine streaming through windows behind them. The campaign coincided with British nurses going on strike over pay, long hours and other concerns.

“You can surf in the early mornings, go fly fishing on weekends, take photography classes, write novels, or sell preserves at the farmers’ markets,” stated an ad in the British Medical Journal, an industry magazine, for an emergency-medicine registrar job.

Source: Wall Street Journal Aug 2 2023