top of page

Brain Drain Survey

International Mobility of Canadian Graduate Students: An Investigation into Brain Drain

There is increasing concern that individuals who have completed graduate degrees in Canada are looking internationally for better opportunities. This could result in a ‘brain drain’ if large numbers of these highly educated and skilled individuals are choosing to permanently move abroad.


The OSPN conducted a survey, of both current graduate students in Canada and those who have recently completed a Canadian graduate degree, aiming to better understand why graduate students and those who recently graduated are making the decisions that they are.


We found that nearly two-thirds of current graduate student respondents reported that they were likely or very likely to move abroad upon completion of their degree and that less than half of recent graduates intended to remain in Canada (the others had either already left or intended to do so).


The results indicate that finances & salaries and the availability of jobs & opportunities were some of the biggest drivers for those looking to move abroad, whilst for those who planned to remain in Canada were placing a higher importance on friends, family and significant others. This was supported by our finding that those students who reported greater levels of financial struggle were significantly more likely to say they were considering leaving Canada. The importance of financial factors was further supported by the current salaries of recent graduates - with those no longer in Canada on average having significantly higher salaries.


More results, including the effect of gender and international students can be found in our report below.

bottom of page