Southern Europe Faces Risk of Brain Drain as Skilled Workers Flee Recession

Southern Europe Faces Risk of Brain Drain as Skilled Workers Flee Recession

An increasing number of Southern Europeans are leaving their recession-ridden countries in search of work and opportunities in the North, especially in Germany, raising fears that these countries’ problems will be compounded by a brain drain should their economies not improve.

Between 2009 and 2011, outflows of people from countries most affected by the crisis, in particular in Southern Europe, rose by 45 percent, according to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

And Germany, with its low rates of overall and youth unemployment—5.3 percent and 7.6 percent, respectively—is a prime destination for this new migration trend. While Eastern Europe still accounts for the largest number of immigrants to Germany, 34,000 Greeks moved there between 2011 and 2012, up more than 70 percent. Meanwhile, flows from Spain and Portugal nearly doubled, and the number immigrating from Italy rose by 35 percent, the OECD said.

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