Young professionals flee Europe, searching for work

14.02.2013 - 13:27

Fading fortunes and an increased sense of the limits of Europe are pushing young professionals to leave the continent in search of work in other countries.

This "brain drain", or human capital flight, is defined by the loss of skilled intellectual and technical labor to outside professional environments. Opportunities are few and far between with the overall unemployment rate among European Union member states at 10.7 % as of December 2012, according to European Commission statistics.

Furthermore, the highest rates of unemployment were seen in Greece (26.8 %) and Spain (26.1 %) and compared with 2011 statistics, the unemployment rate increased in 20 member states during 2012.

Many in Portugal have turned to Brazil as the new place to build a career. A former Portuguese colony that shares the same language, Brazil is culturally comparable alternative that gives the driven, job-seeking generation a chance to escape their home nation's doldrums.

Most of the people who moved to Brazil were employed at home despite regional unemployment. Yet long stretches without work, extensive interning with no pay-off and no prospects in other euro-zone countries forced them to look elsewhere.

The disenchantment with working in Europe is widespread.

Professionals in the UK have left for Australia and the US. Almost one-in-10 British graduates from institutions such as Cambridge, Durham, Exeter and Oxford who found jobs in 2011 were working overseas. The rate jumped to 12 percent among British students from St Andrews, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in the UK.

Like in Portugal, Spaniards are traveling to Brazil as well as Argentina and Angola to find work, as the ongoing euro-zone crisis boasts little hope at doing so at home. The unemployment rate in Spain is currently 26 percent. For those under 25 years old, the unemployment rate is more than double that at 55 percent.

With no definite improvement on the horizon, European professionals will continue to look elsewhere for work.