Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Brain Gain – Retaining our Precious Talent

“Our people are our most important assets.” There’s a reason why this phrase is ubiquitous: It’s true. Every economy and organization depends on its workforce to deliver brainpower and muscle to make things happen. In knowledge economies, the team with the best people wins. Here in Massachusetts, we have a significant competitive advantage when it comes to building teams with the world’s best talent.

Each year, 470,000 students walk through the doors of the 124 Massachusetts colleges and universities, a third of them come from other states or countries. As home to many of the best schools in the world, Massachusetts is a magnet for talent. We mint 103,000 new degrees and certificates yearly. This should be an ace up our sleeve when it comes to our state’s economic growth.

The challenge — and the opportunity — is to keep these stars here. We must do more to encourage our highly skilled talent to stay. According to a report by the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, 50 percent of New England’s recent college graduates are leaving the area to pursue jobs elsewhere. Letting our educated, skilled talent exit the state hurts our economy. The knowledge economy we depend on here in the Commonwealth needs the crème de la crème of educated, skilled talent.

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This entry is part of a series of articles by members of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, outlining its action plan for fulfilling its “2020 Challenge,” — adding 100,000 new tech jobs by the end of the decade. The author of this article is Jenny Floren, CEO of Experience.com, author of The Innovation Generation, and a trustee of the Mass Technology Leadership Council.