UK faces brain drain as jobs dry up

Nov 12 2012, 21:57 IST
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SummaryAn economy full of woe is leading to a phenomenon that marked the emerging markets.

An economy full of woe is leading to a phenomenon that marked the emerging markets, but is now clearly visible in the First World too.

Tired of constant rejection emails, an increasing number of graduates are packing their bags and leaving UK for job opportunities abroad, raising concerns of a brain drain.

With more than one in three recent university leavers unemployed, many have gone in search for better prospects and pay in the faster-growing economies of Asia and Australasia.

Jamie Devonshire, 26, graduated from Manchester University in 2008 and moved to Hong Kong two years ago to work for a small investment fund.

Been here two years now and love it. Weather, lifestyle and job all going well, he said via email from Hong Kong.

Devonshire said he was unlikely to return home soon.

Currently I don't see any incentive to move back to the UK, job market is weak and property ladder is still next to impossible to get on for first time buyers.

His girlfriend also recently moved to join him and managed to find a much better paid teaching job than she had in Britain.

The number of undergraduates from the UK and EU taking jobs overseas after graduating from British universities has increased by 25 percent since the start of the economic crisis in 2008, according to data requested by Reuters from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

When adjusted to look only at British students moving overseas there was a rise of 27 percent between 2008 and 2011.

It also showed that more EU students were moving back to continental Europe after their studies, whereas before many would have stayed in Britain.


The number of graduates leaving the UK from Oxford and Cambridge, traditional breeding grounds of Britain's political and business elite, has risen even faster, jumping by 43 percent in four years, HESA said.

Gordon Chesterman, director of the careers service at Cambridge University, said he had not noticed considerable increase in students looking to move abroad but that students were being encouraged to keep their options open.

We do advocate that students look very carefully at having a plan B and a plan C, and that plan B may well take them into their chosen career in four or five years time.

There has also been a substantial increase in students taking up foreign language courses alongside their degrees, a possible sign of wanting to move abroad, he said.

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