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Human Capital Flight & Skill Development

by Sanjenbam Jugeshwor Singh
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Brain drain is a slang term indicating substantial emigration or migration of skilled human resource for trade, education etc. Why do talented people leave their countries and go abroad? What are the consequences of such migrations especially on the educational sector? What policies can be adopted to stem such movements from developing countries to developed countries? Abrain drain sometimes called human capital flight can result from turmoil within a nation, the existence of favorable professional opportunities in other countries or from a desire to seek a higher standard of living. Brain drain causes countries, industries and organizations to lose a core portion of valuable individuals. The term often describes the departure of groups of doctors, health care professionals, scientists, engineers or financial professionals. When these people leave, their places of origin are harmed in two main ways. First, expertise is lost with each emigrant, diminishing the supply of that profession. Secondly, the country’s economy is harmed because each professional represents surplus spending units. Professionals often earn large salaries so their departure reduce consumer spending in that region or the country overall. Brain drain can occur on several levels. Geographical brain drain happens when talented professionals flee one country or region within a country in favor of another. Organizational brain drain involves the mass exodus of talented workers from a company, often because they sense instability, a lack of opportunity within the company or they may feel that they can realize their career goals more easily at another company. Industrial brain drain happens when skilled workers exit not only a company but an entire Industry. Several common causes of precipitate brain drain on geographical level including political instability, poor quality of life, limited access to health care and a shortage of economic opportunity. Immigration of theoretical physicist “Albert Einstein” to United States to escape Nazi’s prosecution is an example of human capital flight as a result of Political change. These factors prompt skilled and talented workers to leave source countries for places that offer better opportunities. Organizational and industrial brain drain is usually byproduct of a rapidly evolving economic landscape in which companies and industries unable to keep up with technological and societal changes, lose their best workers to those that can.
Nearly four decades back, the idea of individual and professionals migrating to different places worldwide in pursuit of lucrative careers and world-class education was a massive achievement for Indians. This was primarily because; India simply did not have the professional prospectus that other countries offered. However many professionals chose to return to their country in the new millennia with an intention to create business opportunities. Become contributors to capital inflows in the country and accelerate the Indian economy to introduce it to the global market. Today, India is just a decade away from changing its status into a developed and Superpower nation but unfortunately history is repeating itself. This time, millennial are leaving the country not for the dearth’s of jobs on their domestic shores but in search of better standard of living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and stable political conditions across international borders – to Canada, Australia, European countries and more. This rising exodus of Indian professionals is definitely benefiting the host countries but it is becoming a growing cause for concern for economic health of India,
When Indian expatriates migrate abroad in search of greener pastures, the country ends up losing its major skilled workforce. In the age of Fourth Industrial Revolution, where technology has proven to be both a disruptor and a creator of employment in India, why is this failing to-hold back its talented and skilled individuals from moving abroad for good? Higher education is one of the major reasons for permanent immigration. Considering the recent scenario of “Sky-rocking cut-off”for admissions reaches close to 100% in top Indian Universities, many students end up compromising on their dream of occupying a seat in any of the prestigious Indian universities as they have an advantage over students from other countries in terms of skills and knowledge. Considering the global exposure and excess to high-quality life and facilities, not only do the students become reluctant to return home, even the country’s skilled workforce decides to step out to match pace with their peers who are doing well abroad. At present, a lot of educational institutions in the country are giving importance to textbook education and theoretical learning which fails to equip students with skills that will make them job-ready. This ends up creating a wide gap between industry and academic knowledge. As per the latest India skill Report, only 47% of students coming out of educational institutions in India are employable. This clearly points to the need for broadened access to both formal, basic and higher education system as well as investing more on reskilling and up skilling of the students and the present workforce so that they skip the idea of stepping out of the country. Human capital is precious for the growth of any nation. It can be referred to as people equipped with the knowledge and skill sets suitable for contributing towards economic value. But people are not born with the same skill set or knowledge. They usually acquired it through education and skilling which directs us to the need for constant up skilling of India’s existing workforce. This will eventually make them eligible for enticing professional opportunities with higher earnings with the country, thereby dropping their urge for migration.
As the boundaries between different domains are fast blurring, students cannot be restricted to single-stream knowledge. Emphasis should be given on Industry-Academia partnership as they keep educational institutions in tune with changing industry requirements and drive them to introduce programs that respond directly to their demands. On the other hand, companies can also help themselves updated with the right knowledge and skills by approaching specialized training and skilling organizations as consultants. Such specialized consulting organizations help in streamlining the process of training and development. They leverage the latest technology tools and the expertise of their experienced, qualified and certified trainers and subject matter expert to help employee transform their abilities and levels of productivity. They conduct highly focused and industry relevant courses, programs and workshops after garnering a clear understanding of the organizational goals as well as values and ethos. This helps employees adapt to the learning environment that will offer them increasing levels of challenge and overtime. While India is putting its best foot toward to curb brain drain by prioritizing skill development through its “National Skill Development Mission”, aiming to train approximately 400 million people across the country by 2020, stopping the movement completely won’t be possible. The key is to simply emphasize evolving skills in the workforce through the right training programs that will help in strengthening the country’s human capital. With better human capital presence, India will indeed reach new levels of inclusive growth and sustainable development.

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