October 11, 2022

UK risks brain drain; Female staff suffer sexual harassment in Antarctica

UK risks brain drain; Female staff suffer sexual harassment in Antarctica

Today’s global news summary brings news affecting the UK, Antarctica, and the world and discusses issues as diverse as brain drain, sexual harassment, and economic growth.  

UK at risk of “brain drain” as scientists leave to avoid losing EU funding
Migration and ethnicity
Sky News reports that scientists are leaving the UK rather than risk losing their EU research funding, caused by continuing uncertainty about R&D support post-Brexit. Negotiations over the UK remaining in the EU’s £84 billion Horizon Europe funding program have stalled until discussions over other Brexit-related issues, including those involving Northern Ireland, are solved. Some scientists not wanting to continue with the current level of uncertainty are instead moving to EU countries. Baroness Brown of Cambridge, Julia King, who chairs the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, warns that the longer the uncertainty continues, the greater the risks: “I think we will see a brain drain of our brightest talents going overseas. I think we will see more of our best technology-based companies finding that it’s easier to get their scale-up funding overseas to list on stock markets in the US rather than in the UK.” She says the effects will likely be seen in the medium to long term.

“In lay usage, the term [brain drain] … relates more specifically to the migration of engineers, physicians, scientists, and other very high-skilled professionals with university training, often between developed countries,” says Frédéric Docquier in his IZA World of Labor article

Related content
IZA World of Labor articles

The brain drain from developing countries
How immigration affects investment and productivity in host and home countries
Does emigration increase the wages of non-emigrants in sending countries

Key topics
How does migration policy affect the labor market?

Does corruption promote emigration?

Peter J. Kuhn analyzes brain drains and gains

IZA discussion papers
Beneficial Brain Drain and Non-Migrants' Welfare
Immigration and the UK Economy after Brexit
International Student Applications in the United Kingdom after Brexit

Independent review of Australian Antarctic Division reveals widespread sexual harassment
Behavioral and personnel economics
BBC News reports that women working in Australia’s research camps in the Antarctic have suffered widespread sexual harassment. An independent review of Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) sites details evidence of uninvited touching and requests for sex. It found a predatory culture which condoned pornography on walls and sexual taunts. Australia's Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said she was “gobsmacked” by the review, saying “As a minister, I take a zero-tolerance response to sexual harassment in any workplace I am responsible for.” The report also found a homophobic culture among the male-dominated field, and said people feared speaking out because they didn't want to be excluded from future expeditions. AAD Director Kim Ellis says he is “deeply concerned by the experiences described” and the ADD is putting in place the report’s recommendations.

“[Sexual harassment] remains pervasive and underreported, and neither legislation nor market incentives have been able to eliminate it. Strong workplace policies prohibiting sexual harassment, workplace training, and a complaints process that protects workers from retaliation seem to offer the most promise in reducing sexual harassment,” says IZA World of Labor author Joni Hersch.

Related content
IZA World of Labor articles
Sexual harassment in the workplace
Sexual orientation and labor market outcomes

Key topics
Personnel economics

What can be done to reduce workplace sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment in the post-Covid-19 work environment

Gender discrimination and sexual harassment: A discussion with Joni Hersch

IZA Discussion Papers
Why Is Workplace Sexual Harassment Underreported? The Value of outside Options amid the Threat of Retaliation

IMF to downgrade economic growth forecast for 4th time this year
Labor markets and institutions
The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook is due on Tuesday. Quartz reports on how the IMF managing director blames the combined effect of lingering Covid-19 disruptions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and climate disasters for adding uncertainty to the global economy. The report is also expected to urge policymakers to fight inflation, to protect society’s most vulnerable from the rising cost of living, and to support emerging markets and developing countries in order to address the growing risk of a global recession. In October 2021, the IMF predicted 4.9% global growth in 2022. That forecast has since been downgraded to 4.4% (January 2022), 3.6% (April 2022), and 3.2% (July 2022), with a fourth downward revision expected today.

“Politicians typically focus on short-term economic issues; but, a nation’s long-term economic well-being is directly linked to its rate of economic growth,” writes Eric A Hanushek for IZA World of Labor. In turn, he says, a nation’s growth rate is directly linked to the economically relevant skills of its population. 

Related content
IZA World of Labor articles
For long-term economic development, only skills matter
Entrepreneurs and their impact on jobs and economic growth
Gross domestic product: Are other measures needed?

Key topics
Entrepreneurship, jobs, and economic growth
Health, well-being, and happiness in the labor market

Covid-19’s impact on the economy: Measuring GDP during a pandemic
Low social mobility in Latin America may hinder economic growth

IZA World of Labor discussion on labor market institutions