Israel’s Current Brain Drain Problem


According to reports published by the Central Bureau of Statistics in late 2018, Israel is suffering from a “brain drain,” or human capital flight. According to this Bureau, 33,000 recipients, or 5.8% of those who were awarded degrees in Israel between the academic years 1980-81 through to 2010-11 had spent at least three years living abroad by the year of 2017. The Bureau found that these highly trained individuals were primarily emigrating to the US and Europe. These findings are in line with those of the U.S. State Department, where Israel has sent a larger proportion of academic researchers to the United States than any other country relative to the size of its national population. According to the U.S State Department, 1,725 Israeli researchers are working in the US, which is an increase of 5.6% from the year before. These figures do not include students enrolled as students or people working full-time positions teaching or in business research.

These figures are troubling for Israel because it is very dependant on its highly skilled workers for its success. Israel has a population of 9 million, but according to experts, fewer than 130,000 people, are required in keeping its financial, economic, and healthcare systems in working order, thus the nation is dependent on them. Besides, these skilled workers tend to be the highest earners, and as such, they pay the most in taxes, which keeps the Isreali government going. In fact, workers in the top 20% of income accounted for roughly 92% of the total revenue raised from income taxes. Therefore, Israel is dependant on these highly skilled workers for both their human capital and experience and also their income tax. According to experts, Israel essentially has two separate economies, with one ultimately shouldering the burden of the other. Unfortunately, because this burden is now becoming heavier, we are now finding more higher-income, and higher educated Israelis choosing to leave.

Of course, this news also highlights the quality of the Israeli academic system and universities because there are so many Israelis who can land well-paying research positions in the US. They would not be able to receive these positions if they were not providing more value than the local talent in the US. Last year, Israel made international news for the success of its education system. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Israel is the third highest country globally for the education of adults and has even scored higher than the United States by roughly 4%. This news has broken out during a time when the education industry globally is facing a variety of disruptive technologies such as the use of social media, and the internet. Now with just an internet connection, students can use an assignment expert to assist them with the tasks and assignments they are having difficulties with. Israeli students generally are comfortable with handling technology, computers, and handling adversity and changes, and these skill sets make them prime targets for US-based positions.

In conclusion, there are some positive conclusions we can pull from Israel’s current brain drain problem with the US. However, this problem will need to be resolved in the immediate future because these skilled workers are likely to remain in the US permanently, which is depriving Israel of its future potential and growth.

About the Author
Frank Coutinho is passionate about business and entrepreneurship. After studying Business Management at university he started his own e-commerce company. He enjoys reading the daily business news, especially news on startups and the technology industry. In his free time, Frank enjoys reading, soccer, hiking, and watching documentaries.
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