OECD report shows low brain drain rate composed of Pinoy college grads


MANILA (OFW Journalism Consortium)–A RECENT report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that while the Philippines has a low brain drain rate, Filipinos who reached college remain attracted in working or settling over long periods in OECD’s 29 member-countries.

The report bared that some 46.7 percent of the nearly two million Filipinos in OECD member-countries are tertiary educated while 35.7 percent have secondary education.

The country’s brain drain rate (or the emigration rate of people holding a tertiary degree) is 3.9 percent in total, said the report titled A Profile of Immigrant Populations in the 21st Century.

The Philippines joins a group of origin countries with large populations such as Brazil, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, and China which have “low” brain drain figures –meaning, less than five percent.

Countries with smaller populations have higher brain drain or emigration rates, some of which are more than 40 percent.

But in 24 of 29 OECD countries (counting some 1.819 million Filipinos), some 64.7 percent of them stay in these countries for over a decade compared to some 19.8 percent who have stayed in these countries from 5-10 years.

By percentage, there were more males who have stayed over-10 years than females (65.6 percent versus 64 percent).

Across educational levels, there are more Filipinos who have stayed over-10 years in these OECD-member countries, compared to those staying from 5-10 years or from 0-5 years.

The highest among these groups of Filipinos by educational level is the group with tertiary education (66.8 percent), followed by those with secondary education (65.1 percent) and those with primary education (58.7 percent).

The OECD is made up of mostly developed countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


FILIPINOS located in the OECD area are the ninth largest foreign-born population, OECD reported, with females outnumbering males (1.187 million versus 0.745 million).

In terms of those holding tertiary education within their gender segment, females outnumber males by percentage: 48.3 percent versus 44.1 percent.

Filipinos in these OECD-member countries are also mostly employed (65.3 percent). While there are only some 3.4 percent of them who are unemployed in these countries, 31.3 percent of Filipinos are inactive.

There are also more employed males (69.6 percent) than females (some 62.5 percent), in terms of percentage counts within their gender segments.

By occupation, in some 26 OECD member-countries that count an estimated 332,000 Filipinos, some 58.9 percent of them are operators.

These countries, however, exclude Japan, Turkey, and the US.

Nearly 27 percent of these Filipinos are technicians, and 14.5 percent are professionals.

In OECD’s data on the sectors of activity of immigrant workers, covering some 1.208 million Filipinos in 27 of 29 OECD countries (minus Germany and Japan), some 52.5 percent of them are in personal and social services; 17.4 percent in agriculture and industry; 16.8 percent are in distributive services; and 13.3 percent are in producer services.

For some 173,000 tertiary-educated Filipinos aged 15 and above, 40.1 percent of them are graduates of humanities and social sciences.

Meanwhile, some 30.6 percent of these tertiary-educated Filipinos have degrees in education and health, whereas another 26.1 percent are science and engineering graduates.

The OECD report presented profiles of what it calls “immigrant” populations in their member-countries, the report being a result of OECD’s extensive immigration databases. The report also packaged information that lumped together data from all 29 countries, and in some select member-countries.

OECD even has data on populations coming from the top 50 origin countries of immigrants per OECD member-country.


MOST of these OECD member-countries are favored destinations of Filipinos who Philippine government officials call permanent settlers or immigrants, pertaining to those who will live overseas for good.

Some OECD countries are destinations for temporary contract workers, such as Japan (overseas performing artists), Italy (domestic workers), United Kingdom (nurses), and Canada (caregivers).

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s remittances data from the year 2000 to 2007 show that remittances coming from OECD members United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom total to some US$48.542 billion.

This is 66.5 percent of the worldwide seven-year remittance total of US$72.996 billion, with some US$14.449 billion coming in last year.

The OECD report also said that Filipino nurses and doctors in OECD-member countries are among the highest in number, but the country’s health emigration rate to these OECD member-countries is lower that African and Carribean countries.

These countries stand out “as being disproportionately affected by the emigration of health professionals,” the OECD wrote.

The OECD also wrote that the share of people with tertiary education is higher for the foreign-born (23.6 percent) than the native-born population (19.1 percent).

The emigration rate of tertiary immigrant women to these OECD-member countries is also higher than that of men with a similar level of education, OECD adds.

That emigration rate for immigrant women is some 13.9 percent, compared to the men, which is 9.7 percent.

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