From "brain-drain" to "brain-retain": can human resource development (HRD) turn human capital outflow to retention?

Mitsakis, F.V. ORCID: 0000-0001-8454-5777, 2017. From "brain-drain" to "brain-retain": can human resource development (HRD) turn human capital outflow to retention? In: 18th International Conference on Human Resource Development Research and Practice across Europe (UFHRD), Universidade Europeia, Lisbon, Portugal, 7-9 June 2017.


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Purpose: The paper aims to address the causes and challenges of the "brain-drain" phenomenon by examining whether a "brain-retain" can be attained through greater human resource development interventions being offered from organisations. It seeks to highlight the reasons that led many high-skilled Greek individuals to migrate to a different country to look for a job. Thus, the hypothesis being formed suggests that greater HRD initiatives (innovative and strategic in nature as well) could significantly correlate with individuals' intention to remain within an organisation; eventually, for "brain-retain" to eliminate "brain-drain". To serve its purpose, the research aims to depict "work immigrants" perceptions of the phenomenon under investigation so to offer useful recommendations to both HRD practitioners and academics.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Individuals who left Greece to look for new career opportunities in a different country have been identified as the target audience of this research. Since it was difficult to directly (face-to-face) approach them, as all were spread across Europe (some even beyond Europe an boarders), several internet social and professional networks offered the best solution in accessing research participants. The snowball technique was also utilised (recommendations from initial participants). For instance, Facebook was one amongst them so to access various "Greek community" groups. Additionally, several professional groups within Linkedin offered additional research participants. So far, 207 people have successfully completed the survey questionnaire, with the large majority of them being allocated in UK and a few more countries.

Findings: Research evidence highlights "brain-drain" as an intriguing and important issue both within the organisational and national contexts. The causes of human capital's emigration are identified (crisis and low wages amongst the most important ones, along with limited career advancement opportunities), along with highlighting the respective industries in which greater workforce mobility was noticed. A striking observation emerged from most participants' responses highlighting that better/clearer training, developmental and career advancement opportunities (amongst other reasons) can positively associate with their intention to remain within their Greek organisation rather than going abroad. To this extent, the research could make a strong argument that strategic HRD interventions could offer a way in handling such a widespread social phenomenon.

Originality/Value: The research could offer both theoretical and practical considerations. The study, based upon its final findings, will extend existing research both within the "brain-drain" and HRD literature by "brain-retain" state. Since the Greek economy (and employment relations respectively) has dominated the headlines of most global media over the last 5-6 years, that became the research’s focus. Research findings are subject to limited generalisation though due to their sole focus on Greek individuals who emigrated because of the "brain-drain" phenomenon. Yet, concurrently, it can be equally argued that these can constitute the starting point of future research within different national contexts; thus, to offer a comparison amongst people and nations over the phenomenon under investigation.

Item Type: Conference contribution
Description: Working paper
Creators: Mitsakis, F.V.
Date: June 2017
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 15 May 2017 10:11
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2018 09:14

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