The problem of brain drain has grown in Taiwan as more college graduates seek employment in foreign countries that offer higher pay, National Development Council Minister Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝) said yesterday.
“The government is contemplating measures to rein in the trend, which is mainly driven by the difference in wages between Taiwan and more competitive markets,” Chen said, without giving details.
According to the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, more than 720,000 Taiwanese are working overseas, with China being the largest location, accounting for 58 percent of the total.
About 5 percent of Taiwanese workers abroad hold undergraduate or higher degrees, meeting the definition of brain drain, Chen said, citing data from the immigration and labor agencies.
MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s largest handset chip designer, offers the highest salaries among all Taiwanese firms, but its compensation lags way behind its Chinese competitors, Chen said.
Chinese firms, especially in the semiconductor industry, have recruited workers from Taiwan to meet their technology demand and aim to boost market share, Chen said.
Besides China, companies in Japan, Singapore and the US all offer better pay, Chen added.
“The phenomenon is worrying,” he said.
Many talented workers study finance and business administration in college and about an equal number of them major in electronic engineering and computer science, Chen said.
Brain drain will further squeeze labor supply, as technology firms nationwide have had difficulty recruiting skilled engineers, he said.
The government and Micron Technology Inc — the world’s No. 3 DRAM chipmaker — have found the supply of skilled engineers “very tight” after the US-based company completed its acquisition of Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技), Chen said.
As for non-technology sectors, Taiwan has increasingly lost appeal with foreign financial service providers, driving college graduates to seek work overseas, he said.
“Graduates of finance and business administration simply cannot find jobs in Taiwan because companies want them to be based abroad,” Chen said.
The government is seeking to help create a friendly environment so that foreign financial firms would consider setting up regional operation offices in Taiwan, he said.
The local market does not suffer a lack of capital, but is in need of investment that can create jobs, he added.
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