Most Greeks who have left the country in search of a better future abroad have done so with the intention of staying away for at least five years or not returning to Greece to live at all, according to a survey by ICAP that was published on Tuesday.
The majority of those comprising the recent brain drain are 40 years old or younger, and four in every five of them have left Greece in the last five years, with 35 percent saying they do not intend to come back. They are part of the 54 percent who said they have gone abroad for at least five years, while 46 percent say they have left for up to four years.
This second edition of the survey sampled 853 Greeks who are now based abroad, and the share of those saying they will not return has increased from 30 percent last year. Out of the 853 questioned, 341 also took part in last year’s survey, while just 24 of last year’s respondents have returned home.
The reasons that discourage young people from returning are not only related to the economic uncertainty in the country – which is a key reason for 37 percent of those surveyed. Corruption and the lack of meritocracy comprise the number one reason for their emigration (40 percent said it was a key factor). Other reasons cited are the prospects of getting ahead in other countries (34 percent), the inability to find work in their field of study in Greece (24 percent), the better working conditions abroad (24 percent), and the higher salaries (21 percent).
Five in every seven people (71 percent) who have left are up to 35 years old, and most are unmarried, without dependents and are highly educated (72 percent have postgraduate or doctorate degrees). Eight out of 10 studied for their degrees in Greece, while 25 percent got their postgraduate degrees in this country and 34 percent earned their doctorates here. This illustrates a major problem in Greece, as the country not only exports human resources, it also lets the best brains slip out having already invested in their education.
Many of those who leave Greece are engineers, information technology specialists, business administration experts and financial officers, among others.