The Diasporance

at

00144798migration

Our young.

Via The Financial Times:

“Irish population aged 20-24 fell 13.2% between 2006 and 2011, bigger decline than in the 1970s…”

Ireland’s Exodus of Young Talent (Financial Times – behind paywall)

(You didn’t get this from us)

David Garrahy will one day return to live in Ireland, he says, “but I’m not entirely sure when and at what stage of my life”. The 34-year old from Doolin, County Clare, who has a degree in law and European studies and a Masters in international relations, works in Brussels for the European Youth Forum.

Mr Garrahy is part of an exodus of young, highly educated people from Ireland. Persuading them to return is becoming an increasingly critical political issue as the nation contemplates the economic and social cost of the loss of its future workforce.

“We are going to see serious skills shortages,” says Marie-Claire McAleer, senior research and policy officer at the National Youth Council of Ireland, which recently sponsored a conference to look at how to encourage young people back.

“We’re losing our revenue base, and this is coupled with an ageing population,” Ms McAleer says, describing the outflow as “potentially catastrophic”.

Indeed, the issue is so close to the top of the political agenda that Ireland recently named its first minister of state for the diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan.

A look at the official numbers shows why this is such a pressing matter. Although net emigration has fallen to 21,400 in the year to April 2014, down from 33,100 the year before, more than 228,000 Irish nationals left the country between 2009 and 2013, the majority of them young and educated. More than 132,000 of them – nearly 60 per cent – had university degrees.

“Ireland had invested significantly in their education and we’re losing them to other countries,” says Ms McAleer.

The population aged 20-24 fell by 13.2 per cent between 2006 and 2011, an outflow not seen even in the depths of the recession of the 1970s, when Ireland’s overall economic base was far smaller than it is today.

The population aged 25-29 fell by 3.2 per cent in those years. And while some of the drop is due to recent immigrants – largely from countries that had recently joined the EU – returning home as jobs dried up, more than half of it was down to young Irish nationals leaving home.

A 2013 survey by researchers at University College Cork, found that 75 per cent of those questioned believed emigration is having a negative effect. The study also underlined that emigration is most likely among the well-educated. While 47 per cent of Irish people aged 25-34 have a university qualification, the figure for recent Irish emigrants is 62 per cent.

The exodus is generally held to be a consequence of the financial crisis, which led to soaring unemployment with younger workers most affected. Data from the OECD show that Ireland’s total unemployment rate rose from 4.4 per cent in 2005 to 14.7 per cent in 2012, although it had fallen to 11.1 per cent by last month

But among those aged 15-24, the percentage in work nearly halved since 2005, going from 47.8 per cent of that group to 27.9 per cent in 2012.

The effects of mass emigration are not limited to the economy; social reverberations are being felt, too. The University College Cork study found that at least one household in four in rural areas of Ireland has been affected by emigration of at least one person since 2006.

Moreover, the researchers noted, emigration is high when compared with Ireland’s unemployment rate. Greece and Spain, with higher unemployment, have not seen departures on the scale of Ireland’s.

Ms McAleer says that there is anecdotal evidence that, for example, a dearth of young people means that sports clubs in rural areas cannot find enough participants. Moreover, emigration often means the dissolution of intergenerational households, with attendant grief for parents.

“Not everyone has the means to fly over to see their children in Australia,” Ms McAleer notes.

In some professions – construction, nursing and teaching in particular – there are also concerns that highly trained workers will find careers and living conditions so much better abroad that they may never return, even if the economy picks up…

Financial Times

34 thoughts on “The Diasporance

  1. James

    World was never as small as it is now. Travel is cheap, skills are international and communication is easy.

    Emigration is nowhere as difficult as it was in the past, and it where the world is going. People have choice of where they live in the world. I think it’s time to stop seeing it as negative thing and focus on attracting people to make their life here.

    1. Nej

      Well said. I’m actually quite surprised that more Governments are not giving tax breaks to skilled immigrants. I know for sure that both Belgium and Netherlands do, however nobody else is.

      We’re living in a society where an increase in reliance on IT and a decrease in the available pool of reliable engineers is causing issues in product delivery in general. Time to attract those expats and give ’em tax breaks.

    2. The Old Boy

      You’re right to a certain extent, but it is both damning and damaging that the emigration of our youngest adults had been nothing short of a haemorrhage in the last few years. We can only hope they come back before they’re 30, but we would want to get our act together first.

    3. ahjayzis

      I’m enjoying my emigration experience, on the whole. I think most are. It’s not a negative in my book.
      But this article is more about how it’s a negative in the long run for Ireland itself innit?

      I mean emigration should be a choice, not something you’re forced into because there’s zero opportunities at home. I’d imagine there’s an awful lot of people abroad now who feel they had no choice and would love to go home.

  2. Moan

    “I think it’s time to stop seeing it as negative thing and focus on attracting white people to make their life here”.

    Fixed that for ya!

  3. Jock

    Come back and get crucified paying for a broken welfare state? No thanks. Pensioners are set to increase by 50% in the next ten years.

    The rest of you staying in Ireland have no idea how broke you will be.

  4. smoothlikemurphys

    “The 34-year old from Doolin, County Clare, who has a degree in law and European studies and a Masters in international relations, works in Brussels for the European Youth Forum.”

    Mr. Garrahy sounds like he’s working in the ideal type of job for his skill set. There’s far too many people whinging that there’s no jobs to be had when their particular qualification might mean that they are best suited to working overseas from the outset.

    Not everyone is owed a job here by virtue of being born here

    1. ahjayzis

      Speak for yourself, the least I expect from my wealthy, western European, peaceful country is that I won’t be forced into economic migration the minute I leave college.

      Your expectations of the state are very, very low, you must be an FF/FG voter.

    2. Nigel

      I love your ‘you’re not owed a job!’ response, when the real takeaway might be that we as a country don’t have employment for graduates, and this might be a big big problem for all sorts of reasons.

  5. Janet

    Coming back is not just financial and becomes if not impossible but certainly difficult if you have assimilated another culture, even if there was a promise of a better standard of living it can be that “home” no longer exists in as you feel out of place back in Ireland.

  6. Selfie Sensation

    Not impressed by the article at all, it starts with an interview with a lad who has clearly been targeting a job in Brussels since the day he left school and finishes up with the old chestnut about GAA clubs that can’t field teams.

    As mentioned above there has been a hemorrhage of young people from this country in recent times but it deserves better analysis than a vox pop from a hyper educated junior eurocrat in a well paying job and an anecdote about GAA clubs.

    Articles such as this one would be better off addressing the reasons for emigration, ie austerity, lack of prospects and a quality of life that is lower than that available in other countries. I myself will be emigrating next year, we had a choice of where to live but Ireland was never really an option as there is no prospect of a Job that pays fairly, no chance at owning a reasonably priced home in an area suitable for us, and no likelihood of a quality of life comparable that of our alternatives.

    Frankly the decision took all of about 5 minutes to make.

    1. SOMK

      Well said, this bit in particular, “Indeed, the issue is so close to the top of the political agenda that Ireland recently named its first minister of state for the diaspora, Jimmy Deenihan.” I find it hard to believe that sentence was written without irony, but the rest of the piece is so dry, unanalytical and riddled with statistics which effectively make the same point over and over to no particular end, if it was an article about people dropping dead rather than emigrating, the lack of any context or analysis would be downright bizare…

      “A 2013 survey by researchers at University College Cork, found that 75 per cent of those questioned believed dropping dead is having a negative effect. The study also underlined that dropping dead is most likely among the well-educated. While 47 per cent of Irish people aged 25-34 have a university qualification, the figure for recent Irish dead is 62 per cent.”

  7. YourNan

    greedy middle class with a sense of entitlement goes abroad to make money out of the education the state paid for and then moans about there being zero opportunities here. Maybe if you stayed and set up businesses and actually did something about addressing this countries issues? But no, go abroad where you can buy that home you so much deserve.

  8. Bingo

    “The 34-year old from Doolin, County Clare, who has a degree in law and European studies and a Masters in international relations, works in Brussels for the European Youth Forum.”

    Well, he was hardly going to get a job requiring those skills in West Clare, was he?

  9. Dubloony

    Exactly how many jobs are there for graduates in Law and European studies and a Masters in international relations in Doolin, County Clare?

    If people want to work where they are from then maybe being a trad musician or hospitality would have been a better option for Doolin?

    Also, how many people in rural area consider anywhere else in Ireland an option rather than going abroad?
    Maybe people should be a bit more honest with themselves about their motivations.

  10. Biggs

    I’ve been living in Germany for over 7 years now and shall return in January. It’s nice here but it’s full of Germans.

  11. Frenchfarmer

    It’s going to happen anyway as educated young people from Ireland want to see the world and work outside Ireland.
    You must admit that an employer will favour a candidate who has seen the world, and come home wiser, over someone who hasn’t.
    Best bet would be to get it organised as part of growing up in a small nation and guarantee a flight home and help to get set up when you do come home.
    School leavers.
    Get them to plan an acceptable itinerary, give them a Europe wide rail ticket with their dole money on a debit card each week then let them loose with a guaranteed sum if they complete their itinerary.
    Youngsters should be able to see life and prove themselves before they go on to further education. Far too many teachers have never worked or lived outside the educational community. Straight from school to Uni then Teacher Training and wheyheyy they know all about life.
    Grumph over.

    1. Frenchfarmer

      I’m replying to myself? Help/
      If the Govt helped young folks to set themselves up as individual Irish Companies, BEFORE they leave, then they could work anywhere and pay Irish social security and avoid local income tax where they worked as they would be employed by their own company and all payments would be to an Irish account.
      They could even benefit from the same rules that Ireland gives to foreign corporations who claim to be based in Ireland.

Comments are closed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!