brain drain cluj

Brain Drain and Retention



ray spot (3) ray of hope
mass book up fundamentally
brain shift (2) brain-drain
utilize majority major (2)
key (2) precious machine tool
eager minority up to date
earn drill bit custom-designed
gain pleasant expertise
facility wave (3) launch (2)
R&D head to for instance
abroad catch on metropolis






Engineer Dan Preja has spotted a ray of hope for his city, Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second largest after Bucharest.

So many have moved away . . . sometimes it seems as if the city were dying.

Dan Preja: “About ten or fifteen percent of the people left; some for Western Europe, some for the US or Canada.”

The mass emigration has fundamentally changed the historical Hapsburg metropolis.

It’s both a brain drain and an ethnic shift.

Doctors and nurses are hard to find here. And for centuries, the Transylvanian Saxons were a major German-speaking minority here . . . but now, almost all of them are gone.

Journalist: “Why?”
Dan Preja, Engineer: “There are several reasons: one, there weren’t enough jobs, or people just wanted to work with up-to-date technology — so they left for the West.

Most of them haven’t come back again.

Others came back a few years later, and started small businesses here.”

Dan Preja heads the local office of the German machine-tool producer, Guhring, one of the key locations for the global firm, its R&D facility.

Here, it can utilize one of Romania’s most precious resources: university-educated young people, eager to get professional experience.

Chief developer Fred Baronski says more and more Western companies are catching on. He says Guhring makes the hardest, custom-designed drill bits for Airbus for instance.

The people here are highly qualified and up to it.

Fred Baronski, Chief Developer: “I came here from the project department in Germany. I’ve been with the company for over 30 years, and the expertise here is just the same.”

Another pleasant surprise: the same employees working in development for Guhring can also be found in the Technical University’s Mechanical Engineering Faculty.

They’re earning while they’re learning.

A German course of studies was launched here in cooperation with Stuttgart University.

Western Europe is starting to realize Romania’s intellectual and investment potential — and emigration is slowing down.

Gabriel Tofana, Cluj-Napoca University Student: “I feel that Romania has gained quite a lot from the emigration wave in the 1990s.

The Western Europeans are far more confident about investing in Romania because once they’ve had, say five Romanians working for them, they know they’re good, and can easily find ten more like them in Romania itself.”

The brain-drain has slowed . . . but not stopped.

Joszef Fabian for instance has an offer from the Thiel Abeck Company, an electro-motor manufacturer in southern Germany.

Unlike many of his peers, he believes the real opportunities are still mainly to be found abroad.

Joszef Fabian, Eletromechanical Student: “If I want to work in my domain, that’s why I came to the electromechanical section, I must go to Thiel Apeck; it’s ensures for me to work in this domain.”

The German Cultural Center of Cluj offers language courses in German. And they’re booked up solid. But there are no engineers in this class.

Joszef Fabian may be headed to Germany, but most of Romania’s young engineering generation is staying at home.

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1. Most of the residents of Cluj-Napoca have emigrated. True or false? Why did they leave?

2. Why did they leave? What are some of the consequence?

3. Have some returned to Cluj? What are they doing now?

4. The Guhring branch in Cluj manufactures cars. Is this correct or wrong?

5. Do the designers at Guhring work there full-time?

6. Are more, less or the same amount of Western companies setting up branches in Romania?

7. What attracted the companies to Romania? How do they know about Romanian engineering?

8. Today, most university graduates emigrate to other countries. Yes or no? Has this trend been changing?


A. Are there (many) foreign companies operating in your town, city and country? Give examples.

B. Do many university graduates, engineers and other professionals emigrate from your country? Where do they go? Why do they leave? Approximately what percent return?

C. Many skilled and educated workers from abroad live and work in my city and country. There are many foreign workers in my country. Yes or no?

D. Is there a large pool of skilled, educated people in your city or is there a shortage?

E. There are technical colleges and engineering universities in my city. Yes nor no?

F. What will happen in the future?

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