Friday, June 27, 2008

Brain Drain Report: Friday Edition

Back by popular demand (no, not really), my global tour of brain drain news continues. The first stop is Canada, where the anxiety about the exodus of talent is a future consideration. However, Canada allegedly has a step on other countries such as the United States and France in the coming war for talent. One of the advantages cited is Canada's immigrant friendly disposition. I'd temper this exuberance with the fact that Canada isn't immune to brain circulation or geographically fickle college graduates. I could imagine a scenario of Canada bearing the initial costs of sorting through the immigrants only to have the United States poach the cream of the crop.

Venturing across the Pond, the Dutch are leaking knowledge. Instead of sticking fingers in the dike of out-migration, the Netherlands is promoting study abroad. The rub is that 70% don't plan on returning. Once again, the problem of investing in native human capital rears its ugly head. The Dutch should get with the program and start building an effective diaspora network.

Last on the brain drain docket is South Dakota. Dakota Roots is a boomerang migration initiative designed to lure wayward graduates back home. The idea is to let twentysomethings sow their wild oats, mature to thirtysomethings when they can appreciate what South Dakota has to offer. Might non-native thritysomethings harbor similar aspirations? What about the talent that left and doesn't want to come back? This demographic might still care about what is going on and represent a significant business opportunity. There is more than one way to leverage a region's diaspora.

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