Stop the Brain Drain: Resuscitate the Economy
United Daily News editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
March 11, 2013
Summary: To renew emphasis on youth unemployment, and more aggressively confront the problems, this newspaper's "Vision Workshop" will publish a series of reports in the coming year, entitled, "Finding a Way for Youth." What is our human resources strategy? What kind of talent will be needed In the world of the future?
Full Text below:
On June 18 of last year, this newspaper's "Vision Workshop" began running a series of special reports entitled, "Two Critical Years for Taiwan's Revival." We compared different countries' past and present circumstances. We expressed hope that President Ma Ying-jeou, who had just been re-elected to a second term, would use these two years to resusciate Taiwan's economy. We stressed, in particular, the need to address the Brain Drain. We noted that the younger generation, and whether youth unemployment could be solved, was the key to Taiwan's continued prosperity.
The Brain Drain gradually seized the attention of the ruling and opposition parties, as well as the public. Controversy raged. Over the past nine months, government officials have analyzed the relevant issues. As the new chief of the CEPD pointed out, Taiwan's Brain Drain involves four major issues. They include: a shortage of talent, an educational system afflicted with rigor mortis, the cultivation of talent the market does not demand, and Taiwan's inability to offer talent what other economies can.
Government agencies realize the seriousness of the problem. Two years ago, Chu Ching-yi said the Brain Drain did not happen yesterday. It is nothing new. But he also admitted that before he studied the subject, he had no idea how serious the shortage was.
Two years ago, Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey and others published a "Declaration on Human Talent," and asked the government to develop countermeasures. The Office of the President said the brain drain was sufficiently serious to constitute a threat to national security. President Ma attaches great importance to the matter. As far back as late 2010, he instructed the relevant agencies to suggest solutions. The Executive Yuan approved a "Talent Cultivation Program." It said it intended to invest 600 billion NT to cultivate talent.
Today, two years later, we see no significant improvement in the supply of talent. If anything, the problem is even more serious. The problem has three main causes. One. People with talent cannot find jobs. Two. People with talent refuse to stay on. Three. People with talent are not allowed to enter. The problems are most serious among the younger generation.
Unemployment among the young is a universal problem. According to the 2013 World Development Report, published by the World Bank in October of last year, 200 million people the world over are unemployed. About 75 million people are young people 25 or below. About 620 million young people are neither working nor studying. By comparison, the youth unemployment rate on Taiwan was 12.6% in December of last year. It was the highest among the major Asian economies. It was three times the overall unemployment rate of 4.18%. This means that young people on Taiwan are more susceptible than society as a whole.
High youth unemployment on Taiwan is an effect. The cause has several aspects. One is the government's past industrial development planning and human resources strategy. Industry failed to upgrade. This led to changes in demographics and imbalances in employment demand. Serious imbalances developed between industry and academia. Another aspect was "Educational Reform." In earlier times, the cultivation of technical and professional talent provided Taiwan with many mid level technicians. But "Educational Reform" led vocational schools to restructure themselve as "Science and Technology Institutes," and to compete with ordinary universities. This led to a shortage of vocational school trained talent.
Yet another key was industry negativity. Industry passed the buck for the cultivation of talent onto the government and the schools. Big Business complained loudly about the "lack of talent." It insisted that "Young people are not good workers." It criticized the government and the schools. It assumed that the government and the schools were obligated to cultivate talent for its use. But it did nothing itself toward that end. It was as if Big Business did not have to assume any responsibility.
Admittedly, the problem has an even more important aspect. That is young peoples' willingness to cultivate their own talent. When the government offers bad policies, when Big Business has bad attitudes, when the educational system fails them, when economic growth slows, young people must not remain hothouse flowers. They must exercise intiative. They must flex their muscles. This is undoubtedly the best solution to their problems.
The new cabinet is currently taking office. The youngest premier in ROC history is assuming power. To renew emphasis on youth unemployment, and more aggressively confront the problems, this newspaper's "Vision Workshop" will publish a series of reports in the coming year, entitled, "Finding a Way for Youth." We hope to work with the government and the public to confront the problem of youth unemployment. We hope government and industry will not dwell exclusively on solving current problems, but look to the future, to the next ten or twenty years. What is our human resources strategy? What kind of talent will be needed In the world of the future? We hope they will consider the changes in population structure and industrial structure, and offer a roadmap for future talent. Only this will address the plight faced by today's talent.
2013.03.11 01:38 am