Brain Drain: the Good and the Bad

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The Philippines’ current situation shows statistics that will confirm that Filipinos continue to seek greater chances of living abroad, and as if the decades-long it seems like “brain drain” displays no signs of stopping. Mal-administration, over-population, insufficient opportunity or high unemployment rate, difficulty of maintaining standard of living, poverty, and other more might be the root cause of the phenomena called “brain drain”.

Brain drain coined in the 1960s, when British scientists and intellectuals immigrated to the US, today it is known as “the human capital flight” that refers to the loss of human capital. Economically speaking, in terms of the labor force, the Philippines is faced with a brain drain issue, which is depriving the labor pool of much of its greatest talent. According to Charles Davis, economic advisor and Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) based in England and Wales, said that, “this has been a problem, with the country having lost an estimated 10 percent of its population to work abroad, including many highly qualified professionals.”

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Currently, those highly qualified professionals working abroad could be a vital share for the Philippines that hindered a problem phenomenon. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), an estimated 2.3 million workers were deployed abroad as of 2018 survey conducted. These shocking statistics can trigger a mass problem in terms of a shortage of highly qualified professionals in different fields. Hence, inadequate professionals can lead to inadequate society.

In line with this, lack of job opportunities in some cases, lack of job openings remain to be the source of this so-called “brain drain”. Every year, there are thousands of fresh graduates who will need jobs, and the crucial part for the government is to address this issue to at least lessen the unemployment rate for these talents who wanted to join the workforce.

However, despite its bane factors, brain drain can also be a response, somehow, for a growing economy of one’s country. In fact, the Philippines economy benefits from remittances of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) send back home. Many migrants go abroad and find higher paying jobs with the intention of supporting the families they leave behind – and these financial flows make the change. Data shows that the total remittance sent by OFWs during the period April to September 2018 was estimated at 235.9 billion pesos, PSA confirmed.

In some cases, professionals and skilled workers abroad can somehow be helpful to the Philippines, by harnessing their talents and abilities outside the country, and when they come home and decide to settle down in the Philippines they become a great asset to the country that leads to the country’s success. I know that there will be a high probability that those professionals and skilled workers abroad will come home at the right time, hence, a Filipino cliché, “iba ang buhayPinas, babalik-balikan mo”.

In the present time, the question is still hanging on how we can solve brain-drain phenomena. It could be a fact that this phenomena somehow help the Philippines, yet, it will never be a lifetime. Therefore, a lifetime solution is necessary to solve these difficulties. We need to work on improving the workforce together with an increase salary mandate. We need to improve our sector of expertise for us to encourage OFWs to return home and without fearing that their career progression will suffer. The Philippines must provide sufficient opportunities for all, equality on the standard of living. Nonetheless, this is not a one way ride, we must also take note that the Philippine government needs our help, certainly, this will be a collaborative effort, for us –the Filipino people. In the end, Gloc 9 portrayed an idea that says, “Napakaraming nurse (propesyonal) dito sa amin, ngunit bakit tila walang natira…ahhhh Nagaabroad sila …”

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