Dermatology workforce over a decade in Saudi Arabia: demographics, distributions, and future challenges

Hum Resour Health. 2022 Mar 28;20(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s12960-022-00725-0.


Background: The dermatology workforce is an important topic, as many countries are facing an undersupply of dermatologists, while some are expecting a surplus. Therefore, we conducted this study to identify the current dermatology workforce demographics in Saudi Arabia (SA) and the changes in such demographics over the last 10 years to identify future workforce-related challenges.

Methods: This study was conducted in SA, and it included all the practicing dermatologists in the country over the last decade (2010-2020). The number of practicing dermatologists, their gender, their nationality, and dermatology residency candidates and graduates were obtained from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS). The geographic distribution of dermatologists was obtained from the Ministry of Health Statistical Yearbook 2018.

Results: As of September 2020, there were 2678 practicing dermatologists in SA at a ratio of 7.82 dermatologists per 100 000 people. Of the 2678 dermatologists, only 24.8% were Saudis. The Saudi dermatologist ratio has been almost constant over 10 years, ranging from 1.3 to 1.9 per 100 000 people. Of all Saudi dermatologists, 42% were female. The number of residents who graduated from the residency program was not consistent for each year and ranged from 4 to 25. The number of dermatologists varied by region, with 9.2 in Riyadh and 3.4 in Najran per 100 000 people.

Conclusions: The results of our study revealed that a quarter of dermatologists in SA are Saudis. In addition, the number of non-Saudi dermatologists has increased in the last 10 years, while the number of Saudi dermatologists to the population has remained almost constant. There is also a geographic maldistribution of dermatologists, with urban areas having a higher number of dermatologists than rural areas. We encourage local studies that can elucidate the factors influencing the workforce, such as the dermatologist appointment waiting time, dermatologists' working hours, and the geographic maldistribution of dermatologists in the country.

Keywords: Dermatologists; Dermatology workforce; Saudi Arabia.

MeSH terms

  • Dermatology*
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Workforce