Is it really that bad in Spain?

A Frequently Asked Question throughout my trip to England. Yes, I would reply, it  really is. I’ve lived it, I can see it all around me, and the figures don’t lie (they just manipulate). Yet, the doom, gloom and apathy doesn’t help.  The UK is out of recession, but it was grey for nearly the entire time I was there. I’ve returned to a beautiful, light, and sunny Spain, but to a pessimistic atmosphere for the year ahead. Right now the country needs active risk-takers, people willing to invest their time if not their money in new projects; people open to moving around and travelling. There’s no place to live like Andalucía but other regions and countries have a lot to offer too – economically, culturally, socially and even politically. Later, young people can bring their experience, skills and maybe money back to Spain where, deep down, most of them really want to live. It all sounds so simple right? I know that it’s not. These are complex, despairing and even tragic times for Spanish people.  Especially for older people who somehow have to provide for their families.  I would only ask that people are patient, positive and proactive – that we club together to think up new and imaginative solutions, and that we can still smile and be thankful for the sunny Spanish winter mornings (y las tapas, la gente, las risas etc etc…).

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Spain’s Fleeing Talent

Yesterday we held a despedida for one of our friends. He’s off to work in Toulouse. In a group of around fifteen friends he is the fourth to leave (the others are in France and Germany). The rest are looking abroad.

They cannot find work here in Spain. Or at least, not in Andalucía. Once the others started looking en el extranjero, the interviews came flooding in.

What should Spain do about the fleeing of its young talent?

Well, try to benefit from it in the long term.

Traditionally, many people in Andalucía have not needed or had the chance to travel. This is now changing, and the youths of today are being “forced” to grab opportunities that their parents never even dreamed of.

Yet, only a small percentage of those who leave will stay away.

The quality of life – sun, good food and a strong vida familiar – attract the Spanish to return.

If and when they do, they’ll bring their experience, skills and new perspectives to the Spanish job market… and to the next generation.

An interesting suggestion is made by the magazine Emprendedores. In Ireland, incentives are being offered to those who attract investment to Ireland from abroad. What if Spain did the same?

I hope my friends will be back at some point. I also believe that many of those ‘cerebros en fuga’ can and will contribute to Spain’s recovery in the long term.