This article was written by one of our volunteers, Elena Scarso, and edited by Jubilee Scotland.
The 2008 financial crisis involved serious consequences for the whole Western world. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the southern side of Europe, historically the poorer than the northern countries, were the worst affected.Spain, Greece and Italy had suffered, and are still suffering, an arduous youth unemployment that has pushed many to migrate to richer countries. Hundreds of graduate students and young professionals decided to leave their own native countries to find a better living standard.
The Italian Minister of Labour Giuliano Poletti expressed his concern about the brain drain is afflicting his country in a really curious way. He said we should stop thinking that just who left Italy is talented and smart. Moreover, he added that many expatriates shouldn’t return to Italy, since their presence inside the country could bring just trouble.
He’s clearly ignoring the problem and not addressing it.
Actually, the Italian government doesn’t seem very worried about the current situation. Nevertheless, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysis expectations, Italy is afflicted by one of the highest percentages of youth unemployment in the whole of Europe – it averaged 28.57% from 1983 until 2016 and in November 2016 it reached 39.4%. Trading Economics predicts a slow decrease in the next four years, with a slight improvement of a few percentage points, but it’s still nothing compared with the lowest record of 18.30% reached in March 2007. More is going to need to be done for this to become a more positive, hopeful picture.
According to the online newspaper One Europe, the brain drain phenomenon will have bad effects on the countries of origin: “when a highly educated young person moves to another country, the country of origin loses both the money spent on his education, but also the future income that he could have generated if he had remained in his country”. The phenomenon is known as ‘human capital flight’ in Economics and has two types of causes: home factors (which push up immigration) and host factors (which attract people). Therefore, if the Italian government – and Spanish, Greek etc. – doesn’t find a new system to create jobs, the phenomenon will not stop manifesting.
Now I will speak as one of those expatriates who left their country. I am Italian and I just moved to Edinburgh to find my path. The paradox is that you can find a job unless just if you’ve already gained experience. But how I am supposed to gain experience if no one is going to hire me? So, along with many other young graduates, I decided to pack my bags and head to a foreign country. It might seem an easy change, something that everyone can manage, but I can ensure it is not. Getting used to a new country means learning to live for the second time, even if you already know the local language. You need to find new connections, new habits, new rituals, new landmarks. It’s not easy, but it’s going to make you stronger. I just hope that all my expatriate compatriots find as nice people as I have found, like me have a family that supports them and love the city where they live as I do. Because coming back home, in Italy, might take a while.
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