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People retention efforts can be counterproductive

August 21st, 2010

This is one of the better blogs out there on economic development issues.   The author actually takes on important issues rather than just spin out the same old tripe.

In his latest blog he talks about how people retention initiatives can be ineffective and actually counterproductive which is a point I have made as well on several occasions. 

Trying to incentivize new university graduates to stay here with cash – when their best opportunity is elsewhere is not particularly good policy.  If you see some greater good by rebating some of their education costs, fine, but I don’t see much value in this policy.  If the jobs are here, the kids will stay and others will move here.

Same with more regressive efforts such as boosting EI in rural and smaller communities in order to incentivize people to stay.

The other one that is used is guilt.  I have heard this one quite a lot – “stay here even if you don’t want to as you owe it to your community”.

In the end, labour mobility is a reality and we shouldn’t have public policies to try and impede it – we should have economic development efforts that allow us to benefit from it.

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  1. August 23rd, 2010 at 00:43 | #1

    Agreed.

    We in New Brunswick have to get past the retention thing, and to begin seriously courting immigration. There is a world out there that wants to be a part of Canada. NB should be their gateway.

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