The UK risks suffering from ‘brain drain’ as graduates leave in their droves to work in foreign countries, according to the World Bank.
A report from the bank shows that 1.5 million skilled workers have left to work in countries such as Canada, the US and Australia.
The number of skilled people leaving the country outnumbers those coming in by 200,000.
Report author, Frederic Docquier, said the growing number of departures could damage long-term productivity.
“For countries such as the UK, a brain drain is clearly a loss,” he said. “It may [affect] the rate of growth and the number of innovations that create growth in the long-run.”
He said the fact that less than 20% of Britons go to university makes the problem worse. The government has a target of getting 50% of school leavers into university by 2010.