No need to worry about ‘’brain drain’’ as it’s a complete myth
The idea behind ‘’brain drain’’ is that it reduces the migration of skilled workers to a zero-sum game so that one country ‘’gains’’ brain power which is ‘’drained’’ out of another.
This has always been a worry for developing economies in Southeast Asia, who have feared that skilled workers and professionals will leave for more developed countries.
But this is an out-dated notion, according to Elisabetta Gentile, an economist at the Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
She argues that the supply of skilled workers is not fixed – workers respond to labour market opportunities by building up more and different skills. She also says that those who emigrate are not “lost”. When they return, they bring back new ideas, skills and financial assets. Even if they don’t return, they form overseas networks that open doors to global labour markets, trade and business opportunities.
Gentile believes there is plenty of opportunity within the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) to take full advantage of skills mobility.