Sri Lanka brain drain still key corporate concern

April 02, 2009 (LBO) – The migration of skilled professionals remains a major concern for Sri Lanka’s corporate sector, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said. Hasitha Wickremasinghe, an economist for the ADB in Sri Lanka, said a recent survey of the corporate sector by the bank had revealed brain drain was continuing unabated.

The problem was identified by the bank as one of the key development challenges faced by the island.

“It is still very much an issue for Sri Lanka,” she told a news conference held to present the bank’s Asian development outlook for 2009.

The survey covered 20 of the biggest companies in terms of market capitalisation and also information technology firms and banks in 2008.

According to its findings, Wickremasinghe said, in many sectors the trend of qualified and skilled people immigrating is increasing, with the pace having accelerated in 2007.

“The reason is the slow down in recruitment in key firms, better job opportunities elsewhere such as in the Middle East, pursuit of higher education abroad, and the general feeling the country situation may not improve in the medium term.”

However, she noted that i