Three Approaches to Competing for Global Talent: Role of Higher Education

Three Approaches to Competing for Global Talent: Role of Higher Education

Yulia Shumilova (University of Tampere, Finland) and Yuzhuo Cai (University of Tampere, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9746-1.ch007
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Abstract

Although there is a growing awareness that international students are an important source of potential global talent, few studies have tried to relate the issue of student mobility to that of competition for global talent. This chapter is an effort to fill the gap. Particularly, it is aimed to conceptualize the major approaches to attracting and retaining global talents with respect to the role of higher education institutions. We have observed and characterized three models of attracting global talent, namely the Anglo-Saxon model, Emerging economies model and Continental Europe/Nordic model. The challenges and the good practices reflected in each model along with policy recommendations will help the policy makers and practitioners take a broader view on their higher education internationalization strategies.
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Introduction

Recent observations show that the success of a global knowledge economy is, to a large extent, dependent on its attractiveness to global talent (Brown, 2008; Raunio & Forsander, 2009). For instance, the U.S., Canada and Australia have long been active in attracting skilled immigrants (Kuptsch & Pang, 2006), and international students are an important source of potential global talent there (Douglass & Edelstein, 2009; Shachar, 2006). Europe has been catching up – with its strategy to become the world’s most dynamic and globally competitive knowledge economy through attracting and developing global talent. While the developing and transition countries are considered as a source of global talent to advanced economic regions (Kuptsch, 2006), some of them, such as China, India and Singapore also tend to develop their policies to attract talent from the globe though with different approaches (Fong, 2006; Zweig, 2006). The emerging policies around the world imply that the competition for global talents is not merely a concern of the employers. Rather, a chain for such competition should already start at the higher education level, if not earlier, particularly with respect to international education (Hermans, 2007, p. 520).

Although there is a growing awareness that international students are an important source of potential highly educated workforce as being further discussed in the next section, there appears to be a lack of explicit policies of using the international education for attracting the potential global talent (Kuptsch & Pang, 2006). While the universities themselves are interested in internationalizing and reaping, among others, the economic benefits of educating international students, there is a perceived gap between the policies aimed at attraction and retention of talented international students (Cai, 2012; Douglass & Edelstein, 2009; EMN, 2012).

In the academic literature only scant studies, pointing in that direction can be observed. They are mainly dealing with such issues as the important role of international education in the context of shifting from “brain drain” to “brain circulation” discourse (Brown & Tannock, 2009; EMN, 2012; Saxenian, 2002; Stark, 2001); national policies of enhancing the quantity and quality of incoming international students (Shumilova, Cai, & Pekkola, 2012); the stay rates of international graduates in the host countries (OECD, 2011; Shumilova et al., 2012); and the links between the prospect to emigrate and the investment in one’s education in the home country (Gibson & McKenzie, 2011; Kangasniemi, Winters, & Commander, 2007).

To fill the gap in relating the issue of student mobility to that of competition for global talent, our study tries to conceptualise the role of higher education in attracting, cultivating, and retaining (potential) global talent by integrating and synthesizing two bodies of literature respectively on student mobility and competition for global talent. Our aim is to develop a typology of competing for global talent with respect to the role of higher education through looking into the policies and practices of some typical countries, and hence to derive further lessons on the role of HEIs in competition for global talent.

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