Thursday, February 21, 2008

Brits Out ! (part 382)

I read a while back that of all OECD countries, Britain has (after Mexico) the second hightest number of its nationals living overseas. Mexico has a much richer neighbour just across the border - whereas the Brits are heading, not only across the channel, but half way across the world - to countries which only allow the (relatively) young and skilled in.

Apparently this trend is accelerating.

Britain is experiencing the worst "brain drain" of any country as highly qualified professionals settle abroad, an authoritative international study showed yesterday. Record numbers of Britons are leaving - many of them doctors, teachers and engineers - in the biggest exodus for almost 50 years.

There are now 3.247 million British-born people living abroad, of whom more than 1.1 million are highly-skilled university graduates, say the researchers. More than three quarters of these professionals have settled abroad for more than 10 years, according to the study by the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

No other nation is losing so many qualified people, it points out. Britain has now lost more than one in 10 of its most skilled citizens, while overall only Mexico has had more people emigrate. Britain's exodus is far higher than any of the OECD's other 29 members. Germany has lost only 860,000 highly-skilled workers, America 410,000 and France 370,000. The OECD found that 27.3 per cent of those emigrating had health or education qualifications, 37.7 per cent had humanities or social science degrees and 28.5 per cent were scientists or engineers.


That's an awful lot of techies to lose, given the number of non-degrees we're now turning out.

But there's an upside, according to the IPPRs resident immigration promoter, Danny Sriskandarajah.

"Britain has been lucky - although it has lost substantial numbers of people, it has attracted more than a million skilled immigrants to replace them"


What could be causing such numbers to leave the paradise that is Nu Britain ?


Prof David Coleman, of St John's, Oxford, said the brain drain was "to do with quality of life, laws and bureaucracy, tax and all the rest of it".


Apparently the elephant in the drawing room comes under the heading of 'quality of life'. Do I get a hint of 'to escape the frantic lifestyle' ?

Fortunately the Telegraph asked their readers to put them right. As well as complaints about immigration and crime, one other factor arises.

I'm always on at my kids to work hard at school so that they can leave the country if it all goes pearshaped - but there's another reason. Being poor in this country is now much more dangerous than it was - because of where you have to live.

Up to twenty or so years ago, being poor simply meant that you had less money than other people. You could still live in a nice area - you just had a small house. When I left the inner city I found a two-bedroomed cottage in the sticks for £10,000. My wages were £3,000 - and that was a poor wage even in 1980. So I had no money for holidays or luxuries, rode a CB125 to work each day, but lived in a pleasant village.

My old house - now sporting an extra bedroom and bathroom - recently went for over £200,000. Being poor in modern Britain increasingly means having to live where the most unpleasant people live.

"Despite earning close to 100k per annumn, this was a sum that just about qualified me for a small two bedroom home in a dangerous area. As someone who would like to start a family and works hard, I found this unacceptable. The alternatives in North America and many other parts of the EU made the decision to leave a non-brainer."

"There is actually very little pulling us to New Zealand but huge amounts pushing us there; the main one being that we cannot afford to buy a house anywhere in a decent area of London. And with the (in)justice system so completely unfit for purpose there is no way in Hades that we will risk the lives of our children by living in a bad area."

You're surprised there are any teachers left. London teachers must be a masochistic bunch.

"I have been teaching abroad for nine years. I trained in the Uk and worked in Hounslow for two years. I could not afford to pay my rent some months because of the low wages. Add to that the unruly students! I doubled my wages when I first moved abroad and got to teach students who wanted to learn."

"I am a qualified teacher working overseas where I teach beautifully turned out, polite, fun students with supportive parents and a thirst for knowledge. Compare that with the UK where, at my last job interview, I was asked in all seriousness what I would do if a student pulled a gun on me"

11 comments:

John B said...

"Despite earning close to 100k per annumn, this was a sum that just about qualified me for a small two bedroom home in a dangerous area"

Where the hell is this chap trying to live? There are plenty of safe, London-commutable southeast towns (e.g. Ware, Herts, where I grew up) where you can get a nice 3-bed in a decent part of town for £250k, which should be easily achievable on his near-£100k salary.

More generally - house prices have adjusted to reflect the fact that most households are now dual income. A 3-bed house in nice-outer-suburbia can be afforded, just about, by 2 people on the median wage; in 1970, it could be afforded by 1 person on the median wage. The average *family* doesn't find it much harder to get a house than in the past...

Anonymous said...

I'm finally off in 6 weeks. I'm not a bright young thing with a fistful of degrees, I'm self employed in a technical trade. I don't think the UK can afford to lose us either, but going I am.
The reasons I am leaving ( in no particular order ) are:-
1) Endless government interference in my life and high levels of direct and indirect taxation.
2) A sense of this not being the country I grew up in and somewhere I definitely don't want to grow old in.
3) Overcrowding and poor infrastructure.
4) A criminal justice system which is rotten to it's core combined with an increasingly violent underclass

Anonymous said...

But where are you going? doesn't much of the west have similar problems?

Anonymous said...

johnb
''...just about by 2 people on the median wage''
As in the number separating the higher half of a sample from the lower half? How is that useful?
If you actually meant 'average wage' then that is £31K pa in the UK with, I'd wager a lot more people earning less than that than above.
So if I wanted to buy a house - and run it remember and socialise etc- on my own, earning that money what would you suggest I do?

Anonymous said...

But where are you going? doesn't much of the west have similar problems?

Somewhere remote and rural, that the collapse of traditional Western morality hasn't reached yet and where even I can afford enough land to insulate myself from bureaucracy.

Not an option many people would want - it's all a bit Grizzly Adams :-) - but it suits my circumstances.

Foxy Brown said...

If Labour win the next election, which they will because of all the immigration-cum-gerrymandering that has transformed all the major cities in England, I'm off. I've a couple of useless (but proper!) humanities degrees, but need a professional qualification and am about to embark on a PGCE.

I wish I could be as optimistic about this country as you John B, perhaps we should meet up and I'll take you on a tour of some of the less salubrious parts of London.

Foxy Brown said...

I forgot to say the wages of my working-class dad maintained my family and he managed to buy a house out of what he earned. Labour have created a strange state, where only the very rich can afford property and the very poor are subsidised by the taxes of those of us who are struggling to keep our heads above water.

Oz said...

It doesnt matter where you run the same essential forces are at work. There is more space in Australia and the US to hide in but thats only delaying the evil day. Large population and small land area make it hard to escape the consequences of globalising processes.

White people seem to prefer non-confrontation, run away, hide, white flight etc

And of course wherever they end up there are always the john bs telling them they dont exist as a group, that they dont have a right to their own territory and so on.

John B said...

"As in the number separating the higher half of a sample from the lower half? How is that useful? If you actually meant 'average wage' then that is £31K pa in the UK with, I'd wager a lot more people earning less than that than above."

Maybe you should retake your statistics GCSE - when you say 'average' above, you mean 'mean'; median is also a form of average and for this kind of question it's more useful.

(the mean wage is distorted by the few Mittals and Abramoviches taking home multi-millions; the median wage shows what Joe Average actually gets paid.)

Anyway - the median wage is £26k for men and £21k for women, so an average couple have a combined income of £47k. This is (or was until a few months ago, I haven't checked how things have been going) enough to get a £200k mortgage.

I wish I could be as optimistic about this country as you John B, perhaps we should meet up and I'll take you on a tour of some of the less salubrious parts of London.

That'd be nice. I'm in Whitechapel, so I imagine we won't have to go too far to find places you disapprove of...

blueknight said...

My brother has gone to the far East and three people I used to work with have gone to the Isle of Man, Canada and South Australia.
There is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the UK.
Too much tax, rising prices, untrustworthy politicians, uncontrolled illegal immigration and a fifth column of traitors and terrorists trying to kill us.

Laban said...

UPDATE - since this post, John Band has emigrated to Australia!