brain drain


brain drain,
also, brain gain (opposite term)


  • the migration of highly skilled or trained people from a particular country
  • a loss of skilled personnel to another nation or organisation
  • the emigration/ movement of qualified or educated people from one place, country, or field for another, typically for better living and salary
  • the flow of talent, skill etc.

Example Sentences

  1. The slowdown in the advanced countries triggered a reverse brain drain to developing countries.
  2. Ireland has faced a massive brain drain in the last decade.
  3. The government is doing nothing to stop the brain drain as thousands of doctors move to developed countries every year.
  4. After decades of brain drain in rural America, Tulsa Remote is working to attract a diverse group of remote workers to live in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
  5. The problem of brain drain to the West has been a challenge for many countries.
  6. South Africa has been in the grip of an enormous brain drain in recent years.
  7. Taiwan bans recruitment for jobs in China to combat the brain drain.
  8. How can the UK go from brain drain to brain gain?
  9. How can these cities in America with an influx of new residents best take advantage of this brain gain?
  10. The experts are finding a way to turn brain drain into brain gain in the country.


The idiomatic expression “brain drain” was invented by the Royal Society to define the emigration of “scientists and engineers” to North America from post-war Europe. Another source specifies that this phrase was first used in the United Kingdom to describe the arrival of Indian scientists and technologists. Although the term initially referred to expertise workers leaving a country, the meaning has extended into “the departure of professional and well-educated people from one place, economic sector, or field for another, usually for better pay or living conditions.”

The term was first recorded in prints by the Evening Standard newspaper in 1963.

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