MUNICH, Germany – Latest research on executive talent flow between countries highlights the continuing trend of ‘brain drain’ from the UK.
Over the past year, 26% of UK executive job changers chose to move to a different country, a 6% increase from 2009. This number compares starkly with emigration rates of only 7-8% in Germany, Italy and Spain, the countries with the lowest propensity to relocate. Britain is now the second biggest exporter of senior talent after central and eastern Europe.
This is one of the key findings of the 3rd edition of Talent Mapping research from international online career and recruitment service Experteer. Of its members, over 70,000 senior-level professionals changed jobs in the 12 months leading up through the first quarter of 2011. Almost one-sixth (15.6%) of these job changers took up a new position in a different country, representing a small drop from 2008-09 levels (17%) but a notable rise on 2007/08 (13.5%). International job changers within this group totaled 11,188, with 7.2% originating from the UK.
So what has contributed to the UK trend over the past two years? Clearly the continuing impact of economic recession on the domestic job market has played a part. There are also emerging threats to living standards from public sector spending cuts plus the introduction in 2010 of the 50p top personal tax rate for those earning over GBP150,000 (EUR170,000) a year. The result has been to make the UK less attractive to high-calibre talent and, perhaps, more importantly, less competitive internationally.
Seeking greener pastures
Of UK senior talent who secured employment abroad, the first choice was Germany. Interestingly, the second largest group chose to migrate farther abroad, beyond Europe. France was the third most popular destination.
Switzerland – for the third time running – achieved the highest net gain in imported senior-level professionals of just over 50%. It is the most popular destination country for executives from Germany, France and from outside Europe. On the other hand, the UK suffered a net loss of 15%; of those executives who chose to move here, almost one-third were from outside Europe.
Movement between neighboring countries remains most prevalent. Common language skills as well as proximity to home countries no doubt influence this pattern. Remuneration differences continue to have less influence, but average salaries of international movers are notably higher in Germany and Switzerland than in other Experteer-monitored countries. The largest disparity between highest and lowest earners is found in the UK.