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Credit Crunch prompts UK brain drain

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The UK labour market is on the verge of a ‘brain drain’ and struggling to retain home-grown talent, according to new research from professional recruitment consultancy, Harvey Nash. Official ONS statistics of emigrants leaving the UK are due out this week and are expected to be significantly worse than the record 400,000 who left in 2006. Almost half (49%) of British employers are concerned that their highly skilled professionals will soon be looking for career opportunities abroad.


The survey of over 500 senior decision makers revealed that as many as one in four (26%) employers are already feeling the effects of increased UK skilled emigration, with over a third (33%) of respondents finding it difficult to recruit skilled UK candidates and two in five (40%) concerned about their ability to retain skilled staff.


With rising inflation and the consumer price index currently above five per cent three quarters (72%) of respondents blame the UK’s squeeze on the cost of living for skilled UK talent seeking jobs abroad. In addition, many businesses are shrinking their workforce in the UK, whilst continuing to invest in subsidiaries abroad, particularly in emerging economies.


Harvey Nash believes that UK business needs to urgently turn this around and collectively offer a more compelling case for our skilled professionals to remain in the country and prevent further brain drain. One in three (30%) respondents believe that greater job satisfaction and improved career prospects is the most important element to retaining skilled staff, followed closely by salary (29%), and work/life balance (25%).


Albert Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, Harvey Nash, said: “We have a wealth of knowledge, experience and skill in the UK that needs to be nurtured and developed for the future success of the British economy.”


“As the economic climate continues to deteriorate, and redundancies loom large for many in formal employment, employers cannot be complacent about available talent.  On the contrary, it’s at times like this when we can ill afford to lose our best people. If we don’t act fast to keep highly skilled talent in the UK labour market by boosting job satisfaction and career opportunities, we run the risk of conceding our competitive edge to other countries.”





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