To where and why do talents disappear from our cities? And why is it a problem? The new generation talents are extremely mobile, as they are looking for the best opportunities not only locally. They live and develop their talents at places, where they find the best circumstances based on their own expectations. Those cities where there are a lot of highly educated professionals prove to be more competitive and thriving. Therefore, it is important for our cities to make concrete steps in order to attract and retain talents.

Due to the increasing globalisation, the flow of talents is becoming more and more intense. While a few decades ago the young people who freshly graduated from universities typically chose a place for living between their hometown and university town, nowadays their choice can be almost any town in the world. Since talents possess special knowledge and skills, enterprises put an increasing emphasis on obtaining them, practically they compete for them. Young talents are expected to provide new approaches, creative perspective, out of the box solutions for the enterprises, which mean a competitive advantage for them. 

Similarly to Varna, other small and medium-sized cities in the Danube region lose highly-educated young people – they move to the capital or abroad to study and they do not return. According to OECD-UNDESA “World migration in Figures”, the biggest increase in emigration rates were recorded in Danube area, having demographic and labour market implications. It leads to shortage of highly educated workforce in businesses/institutions, reducing their competitiveness and innovation capacity. The employers then cannot create high quality jobs, attractive work environment, career opportunities, further driving away talent. The process has dramatic consequences. However, quality job supply is only one factor in talent retention/attraction. Local authorities can counteract brain-drain by improving conditions for talented people, if crucial key factors are better understood (affordable housing, quality public services, good education, attractive cultural life/recreational facilities), designed and delivered as integrated actions.

Participants will discuss topics related to inclusive education system, youth entrepreneurship, a more inclusive and fairer economy and boosting jobs. Emphasis will be placed on attracting and retaining young people in less populated areas.