• May 20, 2018
    Last updated 1 minute ago

your view

Focus: Brain drain

The world’s population is in flux - today, the country in which you are born could be different from where you study and you could move once again to look for the best job prospects. According to the UN, over 258 million people are living in a country other than their country of birth, and a survey by Pew research in 2013 found that almost 70 per cent of migrants preferred to live in high-income countries. But do people have a moral responsibility to work in the country that invested in their education? Gulf News readers debate.

Compiled by Huda Tabrez, Community Web Editor
16:10 February 8, 2018
Focus: Brain drain


Facilities matter when choosing a place to work

I come from India, I went to school there and did my hotel management degree from India as well. For the initial years, I worked in India but then, when I got a better opportunity in the UAE, I moved here. I have been living here for 11 years but now when I look at the market in India, it is changing quite a lot, particularly the hospitality industry. International chains are coming up and even UAE-based hotels like Jumeirah are entering the market. If in your country the market is developing and there is a need for a worker like you, then yes you should go back if there is an opportunity. But when it comes to a connection with the country where you spend a big part of your life, when I was in school and in college I did have an emotional connection with India but now that I have spent 11 years in the UAE, this country feels like a second home. Going back to India might feel strange, simply because the system, the people and the infrastructure can sometimes pinch you a bit, because you have been living in a place where most of the things are systematic.

Whether it is the UAE or any other country that people choose to live in, the bottom line is that infrastructure matters. People love to work and grow in a country where you have facilities. But I have come across quite a few stories in the recent past where Indians who worked in multinational companies and corporate giants left their jobs and returned to India to start working on an idea of their own. Today, the traditional job roles – like engineer or doctor – are no longer the main income generators. You have more freedom to pursue your own ideas and if you can really work something out in the country in which you spent years studying then why not do it?

From Mr Prashant Bhatia
Business Development Manager living in Dubai



Countries might face challenges beyond their control

I feel like you do have a strong moral obligation to do so because in a way you are contributing to the economy when you work there. In my case, I am in the UAE for my university degree to acquire a certain skill set to use it back home, in Kuwait. I feel a level of national pride and want to contribute to my country, give back and improve things that I think could be furthered by what I have learnt here. My degree major – international relations – and degree minor – environmental policy – are not really extensively covered in university programmes back home so that is where I feel I can contribute to my country.

At the end of the day, you are studying to further your career so technically you are not entirely beholden to your country through any contractual obligation. It really depends on your personal choice and your sense of national identity and pride. If we look at the issue from a moral perspective, it depends on each country, once again. How underdeveloped is your country? Does your country really need that human capital? I also do not think that countries willingly choose to not make the nation welcoming to their nationals. What if they don’t have enough funds or are going through structural adjustment programmes because they have loans from the International Monetary Fund and they just can’t create programmes that would attract graduates to come back? It is true that they are not doing enough to improve their country’s situation, but it might not entirely be their choice in many ways.

From Ms Amna Abudyak
International relations student living in Sharjah



Everyone is looking for greener pastures

I guess there is a certain level of moral obligation to work in the country that invested in your education but everyone wants to make money these days. So, money is a big part of such decision but other facilities like living conditions or personal situations – where someone might want to live with their relatives who are in another country – that could also play a role.

When I look at my own future, I would like to study in the UAE and then move to the US to work, simply because of the field that I want to work in. Dubai offers many opportunities but when it comes to certain industries like music, design engineering or art, while the UAE is encouraging these industries, they are not yet established. In the US, the Fashion School of Design gives an amazing credential to your portfolio and the fashion industry has been established for many years.

You can get into a fashion house and there is some guarantee that you will earn money and live well and get proper guidance for your career path. I would also agree that some countries don’t focus on opportunities despite offering good education. In India, for example, the education is great but job opportunities aren’t as developed in certain areas. Unless economic opportunities are provided, your attachment to the country you spend years studying in will not be a strong enough factor to play a role in career choices.

From Ms Elizabeth Cecil
Pupil living in Sharjah



Go where the opportunities are, because the global economy is changing

No, I don’t think people have such a moral responsibility because opportunities are few and far between now. By 2024, it is anticipated that the number of jobs will decrease. So, go where you find an opportunity.

Based on artificial intelligence and the disruptions you see in the market due to technology, we can expect major layoffs because a lot of traditional jobs are just going to go away. For example, there is a company – Narrativa – where they use artificial intelligence to create articles for newspapers today.

Also, by you simply being in the country where you studied, going to school or university, you invested there through your fees, unless your education was paid for 100 per cent by your government. Otherwise, you pay tuition fees, rent etc which is also giving back to the economy.

When it comes to the question of countries not doing enough to make job opportunities for their nationals to work there, I can only speak from my experience in the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The UAE has done a phenomenal job for making it possible for UAE nationals to return to work and so has Saudi Arabia. Now, the US, too, with US President Trump seems to have an ‘America first’ approach, which means trying to give priority to Americans. President Trump has tried to revive industries like coal and the automobile industry, which employ a large number of people, even though many of the jobs might be low-skilled. However, if you look at job distribution across the US, in the majority of states the job that is most in demand is truck driver. Now, if you look at the electoral map and see the people who voted for President Trump, the majority of the states that he won were the ones which have this job right on top. So, people who were in fear of innovation and automation saw President Trump as a saviour and, to some degree, he probably is. But there is a downside to that – when you focus on legacy and old-school industries and job roles and do not make the future your priority, you are allowing other countries to either catch up with you or surpass you in regards to innovation.

When you look at the UAE, it is introducing a Blockchain strategy, a sustainability strategy and an artificial intelligence strategy among many others. This means that they are focussing on making the future better. They want to make the country the smartest in the world. All these major initiatives build resilience, meaning you can stand the test of time, which is incredible. What I see happening here is what I see in Silicon Valley, but instead of it being limited to a 20x20 square mile radius, here it is an entire country adopting that approach so the results will obviously be greater.

From Mr Damu Winston
Artificial intelligence and block chain expert living in Dubai


— Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor

Poll question: Are you employed in the same country where you went to school/university?

• Yes

• No


Have Your Say: Do people have the moral responsibility to work in the country that invested in their education? Many countries haven’t done enough to make business and work opportunities alluring enough for their nationals to return home. Would you agree/disagree? Share your views on the debate or participate in previous debates. Write to us at readers@gulfnews.com