For the period 2008 – 2013 the divide between the western and the eastern part of the Baltic Sea Region has widened in terms of brain drain. This is a key conclusion based on a compilation of data from the World Economic Forums annual global competitiveness reports for the period.
The data compilation is part of a study performed by ScanBalt® fmba for the ONE BSR project, co-financed by the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013.
The global rankings of Germany, Finland, Iceland, Netherlands (part of ScanBalt BioRegion), Norway and Sweden all stay within the global top 30 with Germany, Netherlands and Sweden improving their rankings from the beginning to the end of the period. The exception in the western part is Denmark which has taken a dip from being ranked 17 at the beginning of the period to being ranked 34 at the end.
In the eastern part of the Baltic Sea Region the situation appears dramatic. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Russia all have experienced significant decreases in their global rankings. The highest ranked at the end of the period is Estonia with a position as no. 78.
Figure: Brain drain rankings of countries according to the annual World Economic Forums “The Global Competitiveness Report”. A high number indicates a low ranking among the total number of countries.
Peter Frank, General Secretary of ScanBalt says:
“The widening imbalance within the Baltic Sea Region causes concerns for the coherence of the region as talent is a very competitive issue. However, one may be optimistic that in a post-crisis period the eastern parts experience high growth rates which can be a driver to reduce the differences. Still it must be an absolute top priority for the region to implement trans-national collaborative measures to combat brain drain.”
A high level advisory board is working on recommendations for talent attraction and talent retention, especially such which can be applied in a trans-national setting within the Baltic Sea Region.
The initial data compilation will during 2014 be supplemented with other data which shall assist in priority setting and decision making for the Baltic Sea Region on talents and related issues.