Which level of competence and performance is expected? A survey among European employers of public health professionals

D Vukovic, V. Bjegovic-Mikanovic, R. Otok, K. Czabanowska, Z Nikolic, U. Laaser*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objectives To explore largely unknown experience and expectations of European employers of public health professionals with regard to competences required to perform in the best way for the public health.

A survey targeting employers in Europe was carried out September 2011-October 2012. The web-based questionnaire on public health competences and expected performance levels was returned by 63 organisations out of 109 contacted (57.8 %) as provided by Schools and Departments of Public Health (SDPH) in 30 European countries.

The assessment of the current and desired levels of performance did not show significant differences between employer categories. However, current and desired levels across all employers differ significantly (p <0.001), varying around a difference of one rank of a five-point scale. On the other hand, SDPH rank the exit qualifications of their graduates with one exception (presumed competences in preparedness for public health emergencies) higher than the current performance level as determined by employers, i.e. closer to their expectations.

SDPH should reconsider priorities and question their estimate of exit qualifications in close contact with potential employers of their graduates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-30
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Public health professionals
  • Competences
  • European survey
  • Employers

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