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The concerning impact of Brain Drain

A country’s power and influence can be measured by its ability to attract new talents such as researchers, teachers and graduate students, and the international prestige of the talented minds it holds.

When someone makes the decision to work abroad after their studies, they engage in a phenomenon, called Brain Drain, which appeared in the 1960s. From a first glance, there is nothing alarming, decisions like this are taken every day by thousands of people. However, when someone decides to leave their country, no matter the reason, their talent and ideas travel with them. Moreover, their home state has made a substantial investment on their health and education that will never bear its fruits because the skilled individual will be productive in another country. A situation like this may go unnoticed in a developed country but might otherwise become a disaster for developing countries.

Let’s tackle this issue that is known for “never experiencing crises”.

What is Brain Drain?

This phenomenon can be defined as the migration of a qualified population looking for better opportunities abroad. This causes a serious side effect on home countries, losing attractiveness to the profit of host countries which are the ones benefiting from a foreign talent pool which helps boost their development.

It is important to study this phenomenon long and large as it can put in peril the situation of multiple countries.

Which population is affected by the Brain Drain?

The people most affected by Brain Drain are well identifiable, they come with a high level of studies and expertise. They often come from the STEM sector which has a high demand for innovation and development. Those talents tend to be quite adaptable and accustomed to change. They desire a fast career jump and are more open to working abroad, compared to the rest of the population. Some countries are more likely to attract foreign expats because of their simplified visa procedures and the better life conditions they offer.

Which destinations are chosen by expats?

This desire to work abroad isn’t only a simple career opportunity but the continuity of a study path that is getting more and more internationally driven.

During their studies, scholars choose to live in middle sized cities, often more adapted to student life. In Europe, such cities include Manchester, Munich, Barcelona and Vienna. Moreover, Montreal, Boston and Melbourne are highly sought after by international students. Graduates then continue their mobility by wanting to live in economic capital cities like New York City, London, Paris, Toronto or Sydney that offer more job opportunities.

An entrepreneurial center point is the latest ideal destination that attracts foreign workers because of its ideal living conditions and developed corporate network which include Silicon Valley in California, Dubai and Singapore.

What are the consequences on the affected countries?

Some countries suffering from Brain Drain do offer renowned universities and higher education facilities, but many young graduates still aspire to become direct expatriates instead of contributing to the development of their home country.

This strengthens inequalities in terms of opportunity between them and those who stayed in the country. Some work sectors end up being under-staffed, as is the case for engineers, doctors and teachers. As a result, countries have to seek a foreign labor force to fill the shortage of qualified workers.

Which solutions can be found to counter this problem?

There are a couple of ways to revitalize a country.

In order to ensure that companies decide to establish themselves in a country, good economic conditions should be met. A country can give out incentives like state subsidies to companies. Low taxes and good salaries are also key factors to make people want to work and start a business there. The country can build a favorable entrepreneurship ecosystem that helps create new businesses and drives interactions between professionals of the sector during specialized events like business fairs. Countries should also value the skills of local and foreign workers in an equal manner, regardless of the country of origin.

Should this migration always be pierced negatively?

It isn’t a loss that a talent goes to another country. Mobility also helps drive the dynamics of a global region, as it is the case in Europe with its Erasmus student exchange program. This program ensures a proper tradeoff between students leaving and entering each country. they are provided with equal opportunity. This international experience has a great professional value to recruiters.

In the era of new technology, it is no longer necessary to travel long distances to interact with foreign collaborators and start a business together. From a wider perspective, the knowledge of the talents should be shared and traded between countries, instead of causing the Brain Drain phenomenon.

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