Fri, Sep 02, 2011 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan falls behind in competition to attract global talent

Staff Writer, with CNA

Taiwan is falling behind other countries in acquiring global professionals, despite instituting an open policy for the past three years, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

Ma said he was shocked by a human resource development presentation earlier in the day by Stanford Research Institute (SRI) International chief executive Curtis Carlson, showing Taiwan is investing fewer resources in recruiting people than Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea and Israel.

Many industries in Taiwan are protectionist and scared that opening up industries to foreign professionals will contribute to local unemployment or damage their products, Ma said. Although these concerns are valid, the government needs to formulate better policies to attract and retain global professionals, while reducing their impact on domestic industries, Ma said.

Academia Sinica President Wong Chi-huey (翁啟惠) last month warned that Taiwan could face a serious brain drain in the next decade and needed to invest more resources in recruiting professionals. As other countries also focus on headhunting from the same talent pool, the country needs to do better, Ma said.

The biggest danger for Taiwan and the US is the exodus of talented people, Carlson said.

Many Taiwanese are leaving to work in China, and the nation’s birthrate at 0.9 is one of the lowest in the world. This threatens development as it is way below the ideal replacement rate of 2.3, Carlson said. The replacement rate is defined as the number of children each woman needs to have in order to maintain the current population size.

Taiwan should reform its education system and follow the examples set by US and European universities, which increasingly focus on ensuring students are trained in the areas of technology and innovation, Carlson said.

He also said that Taiwanese companies were unwilling to invest in venture capital funds that seek to cultivate enterprises in their early stages, calling on them to learn from the experience of other countries.

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