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Essay on Brain Drain

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“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”— proverb goes on. In the hope of getting a better life, lots of meritorious offspring of developing or poor countries are going to developed countries. They never come back home and this is called a state of brain-drain. Of course, brain drain means the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with significant technical skills or knowledge from one country to another. Such groups may consist of doctors, engineers, economists, lawyers, etc. Brain drain is also occasionally referred to as ‘Human Capital Flight’ and thus, this highly unwelcome phenomenon eventually results in the depletion of the intellectual or professional resources of a nation. Although the term originally referred to technology workers leaving a nation, now the meaning has broadened into the “departure of educated or professional people from one country for better pay or living conditions”.

According to Walter Adams, the term itself is loaded, pejorative, and suggestive of loss of a vital resource, without compensation. More precisely, brain drain is the depletion of the intellectual or professional resources of a country through immigration. Such migration has gone on for decades and in some measures for centuries, as is evidenced by the way the Scots have migrated to England, the United States, the Commonwealth, and other parts of the world.

Causes of Brain

Drain Normally causes of outflow of talented emigrants for developed market economies are covered in general using the push-pull model. Push and pull factors regarding brain drain appear to be rooted in the unequal economic development of the emigration and immigration countries.

  • Push Factors: Push factors are: political instability, lack of higher education institutions and research centers, high unemployment ratio among qualified workers, low salary levels for them, failure to maintain an egalitarian income policy by the government, lack of respect for the professionals, and their answerability to the bosses who do not know their respective fields. Besides, discrimination in appointments, promotion based on political affiliation or loyalty rather than merit-based on political allegiance, can have deep social roots which are hard to pull up, which leads toward out-flow of talented workers from the source country. Training abroad does not comply with the environment of the source country. The students having high-grade degrees with high competencies do not get jobs as per qualification in the relevant fields, and as a result, they go abroad. For all these reasons the flow of brain drain is unhindered still and alongside the unemployment, the ratio is increasing; nearly 3,000 (annually) graduates of Bangladesh medical colleges are jobless most of whom go abroad.
  • Pull Factors: The pull factors regarding the emigration of talented Bangladeshi workers are: availability of resources in foreign countries to conduct research; higher salary levels for researchers in recipient countries; life-changing bright career; better-living facilities like education, housing, etc. for their family; the difference in salaries and living conditions between the home and recipient countries; acquisition of better knowledge and skills; research based work; scientific excellence; the possibility of upward mobility; suitable opportunities and environments for the education of children; developed legisla-tion concerning human rights, social justice, intellectual property, and pro-fessions; high level of skills associated with their specific degrees; opportuni-ties for advancement in careers and specialization; fair, well-governed envi-ronments for HR management for the skilled professionals; well-defined secu-rity after retirement; fewer bureaucratic controls as compared to our home bureaucratic system; good professional working environment; professional and technical proficiency that allows for international recognition; availability of supporting staff; frequent chances of a lucky break in life; intellectual free-dom, modern educational system and better opportunity for higher qualifica-tions & prestige of foreign training. One of the most important pull factors is the demand for highly qualified personnel in the receiving countries.

Effects of Brain Drain

A recent study by World Bank identified that shortage of skilled workers in our country is the main cause of poor industrial growth and development. Statistics show that 65 percent of the newly graduated doctors in Bangladesh attempt to practice abroad, while in the country, millions of children are suffering from malnutrition and childhood diseases. Moreover, every year thousands of people die due to untreated diseases. Even though there are free treatment plans available, the available doctors are usually inexperienced. Consequently, whenever a complicated operation is to be performed, the patient, if he is from a wealthy family, rushes to either Singapore or Great Britain. The fate of the poor patient, on the other hand, lies in the hands of the inexperienced doctor.

The generally held conception among the people of Bangladesh is that anything “foreign” is better. Recently, they rather go and struggle to survive in a richer country than struggle in their land. The underdeveloped countries have found themselves woefully short of technical and professional personnel in key administrative and research positions. Today, as never before, there is a “common market” for brain power that transcends national boundaries. The improved transportation and communication available have facilitated the increased rate of brain drain that drags Bangladesh backward.

The youths, who are supposed to bring sustainable development for Bangladesh using their creative skills and technical and technological know-how, are leaving the country. They all want to live abroad, where life is much safer. The cream of our students is migrating to overseas institutions of higher education— some through scholarships, others by self-finance; very few of them ever return. If this trend of brain drain continues, Bangladesh will surely face major challenges in the initial decades of this century.

Measures to be taken

As for Bangladeshi workers, money matters to them. Here, excessive candidates struggle against a few posts. Overpopulation in the country, according to recent surveys, has been said to force approximately 2.5 million job-seeking Bangladeshis to remain unemployed every year. If we get a job by chance, it is highly unlikely that the pay level is going to keep our content because most of us have to support our families. In such a stage, brain-drain is obvious which is not our expectation at all. It is a formidable characteristic of brain drain that the more underdeveloped a country is economical, the more it loses due to brain drain while only the developed countries profit from the entire process. Individual potential and talent play important roles in helping a country develop. However, it is essential to formulate policies to compensate poor countries and encourage highly-educated immigrants or students to return to their respective homelands. In Bangladesh, the most badly affected sector due to brain drain is the health care system, so various measures should be taken to try and minimize the migration of health workers to rich countries.

The young generation, the future of the nation, is expected to play imperative roles in the sustainable development of Bangladesh. We are certain that brain drain poses a real threat to our nation, but not completely certain as to who is to blame and what can be done to combat it. However, it needs no mentioning that the government and large organizations need to chalk out plans taking all recommendations suggested by the think-tanks, into account to mitigate the crisis of brain-drain.


For the balance of power and the staggering development of the world, it is very important to stop the phenomena of brain drain. This will help a particular country to use all local skilled citizens for development and proliferation. But to hold these skilled workers at their native places, it is also important to provide them with work opportunities and living facilities. For this purpose, developed nations should help developing ones with the necessary money and resources. So that every human on this planet can ha ave good standard of living and can introduce itself as a developed nation.

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