Guyana’s Biggest Challenge to Adding Value: Past, Current & Future Brain Drain.
An inventory of Guyana’s varied resources will surely result in us being one of the wealthiest countries per capita, at least on paper. We know that unlocking this wealth requires adding value to our national industries and diversification into more attractive investment opportunities. This is where it becomes tricky.
Adding Value and Diversification starts at the human level, with every single Guyanese. You can not add value to an industry if you do not add value to the individual first. We can not expect persons to perform at a higher level without increasing their skill levels. We can not expect them to improve and maintain higher skill levels if we do not reward this added value. Another dilemma beckons.
We would have expected that leaders and individuals assume their positions based on their merits, that their expertise and experience would allow them to efficiently and effectively address their job requirements and lead to continuous growth. This does happen, however not on the scale allowing for Guyana to leap frog to its desired destiny.
A more common occurrence is that our leaders, in all fields, are only slightly more competent, if at all, than the masses and have arrived at their current positions via a range of pathways such as being beneficiaries of “brain drain” which sucks them up the ladder by the vacuum created at the top. Other more dangerous ways of ascension include nepotism and cronyism. Unfortunately our history has ingrained these practices deeply within our veins. We seem to have carbon copied the nepotism exercised by our colonial rulers where is was crystal clear that the color of your skin superseded your ability to deliver. Skin color is oftentimes substituted for race, political affiliation, familiarity, blind loyalty, fear and a host of other irrational leadership criteria.
Short term: Our competent leaders need to paint a clear picture of the Guyana of the future, replete with strategies to arrive there. Public & Private educational institutions and organizations must provide the performance and compensation management framework that allows for a conducive growth environment. Every individual must analyze their own performance gaps and immediately plot a course towards upgrading their skills.
Medium term: Many countries have been built on the backs of migrant workers. Guyanese have and continue to play their part in building the economies of numerous countries around the world. Our immigration policies need to be reviewed to allow for us to access the skills of those seeking a better life here in Guyana. If skilled Guyanese prefer not to develop Guyana, there must be others who do. We are after all, all human.
Long term: However we add the skills necessary (in-house or outsourced), Guyana will change, Oil revenues and investor’s appetite for increasing risk will change our way of life. Guyana 10 years from now may not be recognizable either way.
If we are to have a significant say in the way Guyana is governed and grown in the future, we need to take Action, Today!
Emancipate your mind from mental slavery. Stop making others think for you. Build your mind, body & soul. Engage in BRAIN GAIN and the future will be BETTER.
brain drain (noun): a situation in which many educated or professional people leave a particular place or profession and move to another one that gives them better pay or living conditions.
Human capital flight, sometimes called brain drain, refers to the emigration of highly skilled or well-educated individuals for better pay or conditions, causing their places of origin to lose those skills and expertise, i.e., the local “brains”.
BREAKING DOWN ‘Brain Drain’
Brain drains cause countries, industries and organizations to lose valuable professionals. The term often describes the departure of doctors, scientists, engineers or financial professionals. When these people leave, their places of origin are harmed in two ways. First, expertise is lost with each emigrant, diminishing the supply of that profession. In the case of geographic brain drain, the country’s economy is harmed as each professional represents surplus spending units. Professionals often earn large salaries, so their departures remove significant consumer spending from the country.
Geographic, Organizational and Industrial Brain Drain
Brain drain, also known as human capital flight, can occur on several levels. Geographic brain drain occurs when talented professionals flee one country or region within a country in favor of another. Organizational brain drain involves the mass exodus of talented workers from a company, often because they sense instability or lack of opportunity within the company or feel they can realize their career goals more easily at another company. Industrial brain drain happens when skilled workers exit not only a company but an entire industry.
Several common causes precipitate brain drain on the geographic level. Political instability, poor quality of life, limited access to health care and a dearth of economic opportunity prompt skilled and talented workers to leave source countries for places that offer better living conditions and greater opportunities. Organizational and industrial brain drain is a byproduct of a rapidly evolving economic landscape in which companies and industries unable to keep up with technological and societal changes lose their best workers to those that can.
Sources: Merriam-Webster’s Learner’s Dictionary, Wikipedia, Investopedia