Executives emigration in spite of economic crisis: the struggle for global talent worldwide

An international study by the executive career service Experteer shows that 17% of top level executives and professionals have dared to take their chances in a foreign country.

Munich, Germany – March 31st, 2009 – The “War for talent” is international: On average approximately one fifth of professionals and executives emigrated despite the incremental increased risks caused by the financial crisis. Above all, those employed at the mid-management level are really taking the opportunities abroad afforded to them quite seriously. Across Europe, well over 40% of those who have emigrated are working as specialists in their field or as project managers. The demand to work in various industries depends upon the country in question. These are the results of an international study from the executive career site Experteer.co.uk, which was carried out in conjunction with the British research institute OMIS Research, whereby the migration behaviour of more than 20,800 top-level management personnel during the course of a year was anonymously evaluated.

Clear trends in emigration

Germany, Italy and France have proven to be the most successful in their fight against the “Brain Drain “: Approximately 10% of executives emigrated during the analysis period, with the exception, in this case, being the UK, where over 20% of top-level professionals have turned their backs on their present homeland. The fact that in Germany such a low percentage of top level professionals are unwilling to emigrate elsewhere is probably due to the fact that the salary level for a job in middle management in Germany is the highest paid throughout Europe. Only the Dutch and the British are attracted by the payment offered by jobs at the CEO level in SME's and large corporations.

Migration area number 1: Eastern Europe

With emigration rates as high as 50%, there are clear signs of a significant emigration trend in Eastern Europe. Likewise, countries such as Belgium and Austria, as well as Spain, have shown to be flexible with over 20% of top level professionals having taken a job offer in a foreign country.

Winners in the net talent import: Switzerland and the Netherlands

When it comes to the acquisition of talent, in comparison with other countries with close rates at 30% and 23% respectively, Switzerland and the Netherlands are the unrivalled front runners. The number of top-level professionals moving to these countries outweighs those who are emigrating from these countries in search of employment elsewhere. The balance in Scandinavia, Italy, Belgium and France looks similar with records of immigration between 13% and 17%.

Countries with a balanced influx and outflow of top management personnel are Germany, Spain, Great Britain and the eastern European countries with rates between 0% and 6%. The diverging rates of emigration from individual countries suggest different reasons for this balance. This, in particular, seems to be the case in Eastern Europe, which has the highest rates of “Talent export”, coupled with a considerable high rate of foreign talent acquisition. Last year, Germany experienced a lower rate of its home grown talent emigrating to other countries.

In this equation of domestic and foreign talent, Austria is the real loser due to the fact that it had a negative 6% net emigration rate of its talent. It appears the high quality of living in the alpine country is proving not to be attractive enough.

Industry comparison: Consultants are the most mobile

In certain industries, one can clearly see a higher readiness for the change abroad: In Europe, 14% of all job seekers moving abroad are working in the consultancy industry, followed closely by 10% in the banking and financial services sector, as well as the IT sector.

Taking a closer look at the individual countries, it appears that German top-level talent leads the way in the automotive industry with a 37% share in export rates. Having stated that, experts from the French automotive industry are still in demand across Europe, yet remain well behind their German neighbours with a net talent export rate of 16%. In comparison with all other countries, telecommunications specialists coming from Germany, France and Great Britain tend to find employment in foreign countries far more frequently.

Primarily those in middle management are daring enough to establish a career abroad

An evaluation of the respective career levels shows that above all, those employed at the middle-management level are less risk-averse in taking their next career move in a foreign land. Across Europe, 40% of expatriates are specialists and project managers, while approximately 37% are at the level of department or area manager. Relatively less movement can be observed at top management levels, with those at the CEO level making up just 5% of the emigration quota.

* About the study: British research institute OMIS Research analysed on behalf of Experteer anonymous data taken from 20826 of its members from 20 countries and confederations. The analysis contains data from the years 2008 and 2009.