Talent Abroad: A Review of German Emigrants

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More than three million individuals who were born in Germany lived in another OECD country in 2010/11. To assess the potential that this group represents for the German labour market, this review establishes the distribution of German emigrants over OECD countries, as well as their age, sex, and educational attainment. Shifts in the German diaspora towards European destination countries and higher educational attainment are documented. The largest German diaspora still resides in the United States, but the diaspora in Switzerland and Spain has grown particularly quickly. International students from Germany have even come to represent the largest group of international students from any OECD country. While German emigrants experience less favourable labour market outcomes than their peers in Germany, the emigrants work disproportionately often in high-skill occupations. Survey evidence suggests that many Germans in Germany consider emigration and that many German emigrants are open to return. Those who have returned in recent years, however, appear to have a lower educational attainment than those leaving.


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German emigrants engaged in study and research abroad

This chapter establishes that students from Germany not only exhibit aboveaverage mobility, but also have become the largest group of international students in the OECD area from any member country. In several host countries, they represent a significant share of the entire student population. Marked differences between international students from Germany and the students who remain in Germany are identified with respect to subjects studied. While the available data on internationally mobile researchers from Germany are scarce, this chapter identifies their number in key destination countries and discusses the evidence on their motivation to move abroad and to return. Measures of scientific impact based on publications suggest that many of the more influential researchers move abroad permanently.

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