One of 10 Israelis with a doctorate was living abroad in 2011 and had been doing so for at least three years, according to a study released this week showing the extent of Israel’s brain drain.
The Central Bureau of Statistics figures show that the more educated a person, the more prone he or she is to have left Israel for greener pastures overseas, with those holding advanced degrees in science and engineering among the most likely to have flown the coop.
The rate of those with doctorates from the humanities and social sciences departments who left Israel for three years or more was lower than their counterparts from the exact sciences.; only 3.8 percent of the Ph.D holders from those fields had been abroad for that amount of time in 2011, while 14% of doctors with degrees in science and engineering were gone for at least three years.
Some 5% of Israelis who graduated university or colleges between 1985 and 2005 have lived outside the country for at least three years, the report showed. In actual numbers, about 18,000 Israelis with a degree from an institute of higher education have spent an extended period of time abroad.
The report noted that these numbers do not reflect whether the people intended to stay away or return to Israel.
It also showed that those with Ph.Ds had a low return rate — in 2010 just over 4% of them came back to Israel after being gone for three years.
The study was prepared at the behest of the Science and Technology Ministry’s National Council for Research and Development:
While the numbers show it is more likely for scientists — especially those dealing in research — to go abroad, certain fields of fine art have an even higher percentage of degree holders outside the country, presumably because Israel lacks proper institutions.
More than 21% of students who received their undergraduate degree in music continued their studies abroad.
Mathematicians were most likely of advanced degree holders to leave the country; 16.7% of the students left after earning their graduate degree, as did 21.8% of those who finished their Ph.D.