20 June 2010

The Grass is Always Greener

The number of people leaving the United Kingdom has reached a record high of 427,000 a year, according to the latest government data, but if you thought all those people were bankers, you would be wrong.

It seems that everyone is in a great hurry to leave the UK - and not just the so-called "wealth creators". The latest group to indicate they might be off are public sector workers who are probably fed up with being told by everyone how lucky they are because of their cushy pensions.

Research from the currency broker, Foreign Currency Direct, found that one in six healthcare workers are planning to work abroad in the next five years.
The research also found that 12% of teachers were planning to do the same. Of those intending to leave, 42% of doctors and nurses and 46% of teachers cited a better life-work balance as a key factor, while 30% of doctors and nurses, and 27% of teachers feared imminent tax rises.

But despite complaints about the gold-plated pay perks picked up by public sector workers in this country, 30% of those polled told Foreign Currency Direct they could actually earn more abroad.

Bankers, on the other hand, will struggle to do better for themselves outside of London, according to a report from the financial recruitment specialist, Selby Jennings. While we were imagining that the new 50% rate of tax on earnings over £150,000 would trigger an exodus of Biblical proportions from these shores by our booted-and-suited, bankers can't find jobs paying even that much in their fave tax haven - Switzerland.

I am assuming that most bankers would rather pay half of their earnings over £150,000to the tax-man than not even earn £150,000 at all. I mean, how embarrassing.

It has got to be right that the sight of a chief executive of a local council earning £250,000 and clocking up a nice final salary pension is a bit distasteful as those of us who pay their salaries feel the pinch. Yes, I know the old argument - they can't attract the best people without the salaries, but, frankly, as with Zurich, £250,000 just won't cut it anyway with the really big earners in the City of London.

Front-line workers like nurses and teachers, on the other hand, don't earn hundreds of thousands of pounds, but as a society we invest a great deal in their skills - doctors are often still doing exams in their 30s. I'd hazard a guess that there are thousands of thrusting young graduates out there who could jump straight into the shoes of most departing bankers. But how many people are truly gifted at teaching or medicine? Not so many, I would think.

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