Reversing the Mexican “Brain Drain”

A publication from The Economist

Investing in more tech opportunities may lure the best and brightest back home.

By Concepción Olavarrieta

After investing more than a billion dollars (or 25% of the Ministry for Education’s budget) in postgraduate studies for young students abroad, Mexico is looking for a return on that investment—literally. Many of
those students never come back to Mexico once their studies are completed. Their reasons for remaining abroad include superior wages and salaries; the ability to work in research centers, offices, and labs equipped with the latest technologies; and the opportunity to be involved in cutting-edge research projects.

Of these former students, 66% reside in the United States, 26% in Europe, and the rest in Canada and elsewhere. Half of the
5,000 scientists who did not return to Mexico obtained PhDs, and some went on to obtain postdoctoral positions. An estimated
575,000 Mexican professionals and academics now live and work in the
United States and Europe, and this number is growing. Every year, 20,000 highly educated Mexicans search for better working conditions outside Mexico. Most of them ultimately get hired.

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