One world-wide desire? A good job
By Greg Pellegrino - June 09, 2010
That’s what Gallup concluded in 2007, based on data it collected in its World Poll, an ongoing effort to learn what’s on the minds of six billion people around the globe.
It’s a startling discovery. Imagine: from Cleveland to Kandahar, from Shenzhen to Montevideo, stop random people on the street to ask what they desire most in life, and most of them will give the same answer. More than love, or money, or food, or safety, people want well-paid, satisfying work. That simple wish drives much of what people do and, increasingly, where they choose to live.
Demand for good jobs lies at the heart of “Employment, Migration and Talent,” one of the discussion sessions at the World Economic Forum’s Global Redesign Summit, an international forum that was held in Qatar. A forum for policy experts and leaders from governments and international organizations, the Global Redesign Initiative drew attendees from nearly 60 countries. They came together to discuss how governments can better cooperate in areas such as finance, trade, employment, the environment, humanitarian assistance and security.
One thing the leaders at this summit understood very well is the connection between desirable jobs and economic growth. When people emigrate to find better work, they create a problem for the places they leave behind. In the 21st Century, talent is a nation’s most critical resource. Gifted, educated workers who seek opportunities abroad leave their home countries poorer, just as surely as if they had depleted the oil wells or worn out the soil.
Consider, for example, what’s happening with women. In much of the world, they’re becoming educated at greater rates than men, making them especially important to the prosperity of their nations. But according to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), in every region of the world except North America, women with post-secondary educations are emigrating in greater numbers than men. Countries throughout the world are losing sorely-needed talent at an alarming rate.
It is possible stop this brain drain. Public policy must make it easier for talented people to secure jobs they want. For many countries, that means creating or attracting enough desirable employment to persuade skilled, educated workers to stay at home. And for nations blessed with fine educational systems, it might also mean hanging on to the brilliant students from abroad who come to earn university degrees. “I think any foreign student who gets a Ph.D. in our country—in any subject—should be offered citizenship,” wrote Thomas Friedman in the New York Times several years ago. “The idea that we actually make it difficult for them to stay is crazy.”
Talented people want good jobs. A thriving economy demands talented people. To hold onto their most valuable resource, governments must expand opportunities for talented people to find well-paid, satisfying work.
Greg Pellegrino is the DTT Global Industry Leader for the Public Sector industry and leads the Federal Government Services practice for Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP in the United States. Greg leads DTT’s industry focus in helping government leaders address critical issues impacting performance, accountability, and economic competitiveness.