Brain drain refers to the migration to foreign countries of qualified people trained within the national territory.
Brain drain, also called talent drain, occurs when people with high academic and professional training migrate to other countries in search of opportunities. Mainly they do it for economic and professional reasons.
This flight of human capital to other countries causes a loss of competitiveness of the country that suffers it. It usually occurs in economic crises or in sectors that have no growth in the country.
Although brain drain has no defined age range, it usually takes place among the youngest. Especially people who do not have conditions to leave the country. For example, family, economic or cultural burdens.
Causes of brain drain
As we indicated at the beginning, brain drain has as its main cause the lack of opportunities. However, there are other causes. Among the causes of brain drain are the following:
- Lack of opportunities:The most important cause is the lack of opportunities. It is really the one that encompasses everything else. A person who has a higher education and who is qualified to work in positions of certain rank, will not accept any job. In a country, whose companies do not give opportunities to the youngest, capital will soon flee to other countries in search of opportunities.
- Economic motivations:There are cases in which there are opportunities. However, the economic remuneration is of a lower amount compared to other countries. This is something that will depend on the sector and how the country values certain types of professionals.
- Professional motivations:Unlike in the previous case, although they can occur together, sometimes the economic remuneration is adequate, but there is no opportunity to evolve. That is to say, after several years they do not even see the possibility of ascending or improving working conditions.
- Sectors without investment:On a few occasions, it happens that the sector does not receive investment in some countries. For example, a scientist who wants to devote himself to research on a certain subject. There may not be aids or investors in that country that allow it to develop such research. Or if they exist, they do not have sufficient means. See R&D
- Economic Crisis:The economic crises can motivate all the above. Even in countries where there are opportunities, they may disappear at a stroke during an economic crisis. Companies close, wages fall and working conditions, in general, get worse.
- Political crisis:Last but not least, there are situations of political crisis. Situations in which the government does not allow certain sectors to develop properly. Thus, it eliminates or limits them. Consequently, professionals in the sector seek employment in other countries. At this point, we could also add countries at war.
Consequences of brain drain
The flight of talent is a big problem for any country. Normally, countries invest part of their budgets in training the population. The objective is to recover that investment in the long term. For example, investing in educating the youngest so that, in the future, these young people will be more productive for the country.
Thus, among the consequences of brain drain are:
- The State loses the capital invested. That is, it does not recover the investment.
- It does not take advantage of the productivity of professionals trained in the nation.
- In line with the above, other countries take advantage of this free productivity. And, therefore, the country is less productive compared to other countries.
- It does not encourage other professionals to come to the country. This enriches the country. On the contrary, professionals from other countries do not look at the country as a possible destination.
In short, brain drain is not good news for any country. Quite the opposite. Above all, if we take into account that when a professional goes to other countries, the nation runs the risk of that person not returning.