British middle class brain drain as professionals head abroad

British middle class brain drain as professionals head abroad

British middle class brain drain as professionals head abroad

A recent report has warned that the UK is losing middle class professionals to the lure of overseas jobs and better work/life balances.

Research undertaken for the Home Office has revealed that almost 50 per cent of migrants are professionals, with the size of the exodus possibly threatening Britain’s supply of highly-skilled staff. A combination of better weather, a more enjoyable work/life balance and greater opportunities for career advancement has seen a significantly increasing number of academics, company directors, scientists and doctors leaving the UK for fresh fields overseas during the last 20 years.

Business leaders are blaming high tax rates and living costs plus the slow economic recovery for the rapid increase in the number of migrants. In 2011, almost 150,000 British citizens left the UK for Canada, the USA and Australia, with a total number of 4.7 million living abroad. Over the last decade, concerns have been raised over the number of highly-qualified professionals leaving, as this group is likely to stay overseas for many years.

During 2010, 48 per cent of migrants were from professional backgrounds, compared to only 37 per cent in 1991, with Britons moving jobs to major US corporations in New York usually returning to the UK after three years. Conversely, scientists emigrating to work in US biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies in Boston stayed away for an average of 12 years.

Director-general of the CBI John Cridland said he hoped proposed tax cuts would cause professionals to reconsider, calling the report’s figures disturbing. He added he was certain that the high tax rates of the last few years were to blame, and hopes the present Chancellor’s moves to cut taxes would stem the tide of emigrants.

The report also suggested that emigration was as much a lifestyle choice as a financially-based decision. It also warned that the rise in university fees announced last year could spark an exodus of talented undergraduates to less expensive foreign universities.

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