Staunton, Nov. 19 -- Many Russians have been alarmed that polls show more than one in five of their countrymen want to move abroad, but they should be even more alarmed that 53 percent of students being trained in information technology, a key to the development of a modern economy, say that that is their goal as well.
That is the finding of a survey of more than 5,000 Russian IT students carried out by Geek Brains and reported by the RBC media portal (rbc.ru/technology_and_media/19/11/2021/61966d549a7947d03a054ebband sibreal.org/a/polovina-studentov-it-spetsialnostey-hotyat-uehat-iz-rossii/31569153.html).
A quarter of the Russian students say they would like to emigrate to the US, five to seven percent say they would like to go to Great Britain, Germany or Canada, and 23 precent to other countries, while a third of those questioned said they could not specify where they wanted to go except that it would be outside of the Russian Federation.
They want to leave even though salaries in this sector have been rising in Russia to an average of 120,000 rubles (1700 US dollars) a month as Moscow seeks to reduce its shortage of IT professionals, a shortage some experts say is growing at the rate of 500,000 to one million a year.
More money alone will not be enough to hold these IT specialists. Thirty-five percent told GeekBrains that life is generally better abroad, 17 percent said they would have more opportunities in other countries, and – especially significantly – 19 percent of those who want to leave said they wanted to rejoin relatives and friends who have already left.
That last figure suggests that this desire to leave is more intense than many sometimes assume, with pro-regime commentators inevitably suggesting that many may dream of leaving but few if any actually are planning to leave Russia. In this critical high tech area, such suggestions may not be the case.