EU Highly-Skilled Workforce Migration Index

At Movinga, we’ve witnessed first-hand the steady flow of labour moving around Europe while supporting thousands of people to relocate. Our own company is proudly formed of a multicultural team with colleagues hailing from all over the world, and we are fortunate to benefit from the value and innovation that highly skilled professionals bring to our business every day. We decided to conduct a study exploring this continuing trend further with the hope that the results not only enrich the conversation around economic migration, but also shine a positive light on the advantages and economic gains that the internal migration of highly-skilled workers brings to many nations around Europe.

To begin the study, we delved into European labour statistics in order to analyse the movements of skilled professionals within Europe. A skilled worker was defined as a person possessing a professional education background from primary to a post-high school qualification. It was important to also define the areas of work that these professionals relocate for, so three categories were chosen that commonly attract skilled labour to other countries: STEM, Education and Academia, and Healthcare.

Next, several factors within each professional category needed to be determined in order to understand the total financial advantage to each country. Firstly, the number of migrant professionals in each destination country was identified in order to discover what proportion of the workforce were foreign nationals. Then, the total amount of taxes accumulated from these professionals over a 10-year period was calculated in order to evaluate their total economic contribution. Finally, the amount it would cost the destination country to train and educate each of these foreign professionals was determined by calculating the total price of their primary, secondary and tertiary education within that country.

The final index combines all of these factors to reveal the overall earnings from tax income and savings on education that a European country gains by the migration of highly-skilled workers.

The study is split into three tables according to each professional sector, as well as a final table showing the overall savings and earnings from all three combined. Each column within the four tables below are filterable. The full methodology explaining how each factor was calculated can be found at the bottom of the page.
All currency figures are in GBP.
Destination Country
Number of Professionals and Technicians
Income from Taxes (over 10 year period)
Savings from Overseas Education
Overall Savings and Earnings
Destination Country
Overall Tax Income (over 10 year period)
Overall Savings from Overseas Education
Overall Total
Healthcare
# city city city city city
STEM
# city city city city city
Education and Academia
# city city city city city
TOTAL
# city city city city
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EUROPEAN MIGRATION PATTERNS - INTERNATIONAL AND DOMESTIC

As supplementary information, the below tables show international migration between EU countries, as well as domestic migration within the EU countries themselves. Each column within the two tables below is filterable.
The following data reveals the three European countries from which each country in the EU sees the highest migration.
Country of Residence
Nationality
Number of Migrants
1
2
3
city city city city city city city
The following table shows the % of the total population in each EU country who relocated internally within a five year period.
Country
% Total Population
city city
Methodology
The EU High-Skill Workforce Migration Index analyses and compares the movement of highly-skilled workers within the European Union. It calculates the total contribution to each countries’ economy from savings in education and tax gains. The study utilises statistics from the Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries, which relies on national census data from 2011, as well as the EU Labour Force Survey 2011. As the migration of skilled workers has subsequently increased over the decade since the data was published, it’s important to note that the final results are a conservative estimation.
The study focuses on Professionals and Technicians, who are defined by the International Labour Organization as high skilled workers who are in possession of a higher education or equivalent technical qualification. Three main categories of work were identified as the most common areas that attract foreign skilled labourers: STEM, Education & Academia, and Healthcare.

Several factors within each professional category help determine the overall savings and earnings for each destination country:
- The number of foreign labourers working in the sector in each country.
- The total amount of taxes accumulated from these labourers over a 10-year period.
- The estimated cost for the destination country to train and educate a professional from start to finish.

The final index combines all of these factors to reveal the overall earnings from tax income and savings on education that a European country gains by the migration of highly-skilled workers from other EU countries.
In addition, the two tables below the index show figures for international migration between EU countries, as well as domestic migration within the EU countries themselves.

The first table shows the nationalities of the three highest numbers of immigrants who were born in other EU countries for each destination country, according to the OECD International Migration Database (latest available).
The second table uses data from the 2011 Eurostat census (latest available) to show the population movement in each country in the five years previous.
Below you can find a description of each factor within the study and the sources used.

Number of Professionals and Technicians:
The number of Professionals and Technicians in each occupational field for each country was determined from the Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries and the EU Labour Force Survey.

It follows the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO) 2008, known as ISCO08 by the International Labour Organization. The classification follows a four digit scheme which gets more granular with every level (For example: 2 Professionals; 22 Health Professionals; 221 Medical Doctors; 2212 Specialist Medical Practitioners). Professionals (ISCO code 2) and Technicians (ISCO code 3) were chosen because they fit the profile of high skilled workers. The ILO classifies them as skill level 3 and 4 which requires higher education.

The following occupational codes were selected in each category:

STEM
Numbers in this category were collected for the two-digit codes 21 Science and Engineering Professionals, 25 Information and Communications Technology Professionals, 31 Science and Engineering Associate Professionals and 35 Information and Communications Technicians which include employees from the following subcategories (ISCO three digit codes):
211        Physical and Earth Science Professionals
212        Mathematicians, Actuaries and Statisticians
213        Life Science Professionals
214        Engineering Professionals (excluding Electrotechnology)
215        Electrotechnology Engineers
216        Architects, Planners, Surveyors and Designers
251        Software and Applications Developers and Analysts
252        Database and Network Professionals
311        Physical and Engineering Science Technicians
312        Mining, Manufacturing and Construction Supervisors
313        Process Control Technicians
314        Life Science Technicians and Related Associate Professionals
315        Ship and Aircraft Controllers and Technicians
351        Information and Communications Technology Operations and User Support Technicians
352        Telecommunications and Broadcasting Technicians

Health
Numbers were collected for the two-digit codes 22 Health Professionals and 32 Health Associate Professionals which include employees from the following subcategories (ISCO three digit codes):
221        Medical Doctors
222        Nursing and Midwifery Professionals
223        Traditional and Complementary Medicine Professionals
224        Paramedical Practitioners
225        Veterinarians
226        Other Health Professionals
321        Medical and Pharmaceutical Technicians
322        Nursing and Midwifery Associate Professionals
323        Traditional and Complementary Medicine Associate Professionals
324        Veterinary Technicians and Assistants
325        Other Health Associate Professionals

Education

Numbers were collected for the two-digit code 23 Teaching Professionals which include employees from the following subcategories (ISCO three digit codes):
231        University and Higher Education Teachers
232        Vocational Education Teachers
233        Secondary Education Teachers
234        Primary School and Early Childhood Teachers
235        Other Teaching Professionals

Sources: Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries, EU Labour Force Survey


Income from taxes (over 10 year period):

The total sum of income-related taxes was calculated by using the assumed salary for each of the three sectors, as detailed below. This figure was then multiplied firstly by the number of foreign professionals and technicians in each of the European member countries, and secondly by 10 to establish how large the total income-related contributions would be over a 10-year period.

Instances which show a country receiving no income tax from a sector are due to its specific tax laws. For example, professionals in Cyprus are taxed if their earnings are higher than a certain amount, which was only surpassed by workers in the Education sector.

Salary
The salary for each sector was estimated using numbers from the non-profit organization WageIndicator Foundation which provides salary information for the corresponding ISCO codes, reflecting the median salary in an ISCO two digit sector (like 22: Health Professionals). In order to deal with the challenge that some skilled workers move to their destination country with long-time experience in their field, whereas others may be newly graduated, we conservatively assumed that everyone earns a salary that reflects five years of work experience. The data covers a five-year period from 2014-2019.
In order to ensure a consistently high quality, the data was enhanced by including two further datasets compiled and harmonized by the International Labour Organization:
“Mean nominal monthly earnings of employees by sex and occupation -- Harmonized series null”.
“Mean nominal monthly earnings of employees by sex and economic activity -- Harmonized series null”.
All salaries were collected in the local currency and converted into euros using the average conversion rate for November 2019.

Sources: Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries, EU Labour Force Survey, online local tax rate calculators in each EU country, WageIndicator.org, ILO.org.


Cost to educate:
The cost to train and educate a professional or technician from start to finish was determined by the public expenditure in each country on primary, secondary and tertiary education per student. The total cost was calculated by averaging all available figures from the OECD and UNESCO databases, for the period of 2011 to 2018.

Sources: Database on Immigrants in OECD Countries, EU Labour Force Survey, ILO.org, OECD Data on Education Spending, UNESCO data on Government expenditure per student.


Overall Savings and Earnings:
The overall savings and earnings in each occupational sector was calculated by combining the incomes from taxes (over a 10 year period) with the cost to educate in each country. The final overall total for each country is a combination of  the overall savings for each sector, revealing the total savings that a European country gains by the migration of highly-skilled workers.