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Korea’s Brain Drain Worsening

Posted May. 23, 2007 03:19,   


Korea’s talented people are emigrating while those from other countries are turning away from Korea.

On May 22, the Hyundai Economic Research Institute pointed out in a report titled, “Korea’s Brain Drain and How to Prevent it,” that a certain national policy to attract talented people is urgent.

Citing the Swiss International Management Development’s Brain Drain Index (BDI), the report revealed that Korea’s BDI fell from 7.53 in 1995 to 4.91 in 2006.

BDI is an index based on a survey of chief technical officers (CTOs) and research center chiefs on the trend of the brain drain. If the index is closer to 0, it means that more talented people want to emigrate.

Korea’s BDI ranking dropped from fourth among 41 countries in 1995 to 40th among 61 in 2006.

Another problem is that Koreans studying abroad do not want to return. According to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), the percentage of Koreans who want to stay in the U.S. after getting their doctoral degrees has increased from 42.1 percent in 1992-95, to 50.9 percent in 1996-99, and to 69.6 percent in 2000-2003.

Foreign brain inflow has also been reduced.

According to the World Bank’s survey on the international mobility of highly educated population, Korea’s foreign brain inflow rate dropped 0.1 percent from -1.3 percent in 1990 to -1.4 percent in 2000.

The brain inflow rate is calculated based on the residence place of skilled workers with a minimum of a college degree. If it is below 0 percent, it indicates that there are more domestic workers than foreign workers in the place.