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The Global Competition for Talent

Mobility of the Highly Skilled

image of The Global Competition for Talent
This publication discusses the dimensions, significance, and policy implications of international flows of human resources in science and technology. The international mobility of highly skilled workers is increasing in scale and complexity as more economies participate in R&D and innovation activity. Mobile talent diffuses knowledge both directly and indirectly across borders. This can boost global innovation performance, with benefits accruing to both sending and receiving countries. It is clear that mobility is leading to an increasing level of labour-market internationalisation and integration, and competition for talent is now influencing innovation policy initiatives across the globe.

Most countries offer a range of policies focused on assisting and encouraging mobility, although few have a specific and coherent mobility strategy. Many nations aim to attract the same pool of highly skilled talent; thus, relying on international flows to fill existing or future gaps in supply may entail risks. Addressing shortcomings in national policies that may limit domestic supply of skilled workers, and ensuring that the wider environment for innovation and scientific endeavour is sound, are key policy challenges for countries.

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Executive Summary

Alongside sustained growth in foreign direct investment (FDI), in trade and in the internationalisation of research and development (R&D), mobility of human resources in science and technology (HRST) has become a central aspect of globalisation. Migration of talent now plays an important role in shaping skilled labour forces throughout the OECD area.

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