The Virtual Brain Drain in Turkey: A Qualitative Research on Remote Employees’ Experiences in Foreign FirmsHalim Baş
The virtual brain drain is an outcome of the strategies global companies have pursued around the world to gain a competitive advantage and reach more qualified employees, mostly with regard to better economical conditions. Virtual brain drain is a situation that occurs with no geographical displacement when considered in terms of cause-and-effect factors and is becoming more common in the world. Although the prevalence of a virtual brain drain has been associated with COVID-19 in consideration of its impact factors, this brain drain is also said to have started before COVID-19. In addition to the pandemic, however, employees’ search for flexibility and the desire to meet their different expectations, especially with regard to economic status, have gradually enlarged and strengthened this phenomenon. This study aims to provide a framework for understanding virtual brain drain relevant researchers and policymakers by focusing on the experiences of employees working remotely for foreign companies. The research uses the qualitative methodology and collects data from 11 participants in six different Turkish cities through the e-interview technique. The study analyzes the obtained data using the descriptive analysis technique. According to the results obtained from the study, employees’ job searches were observed to have been shaped around economic factors, flexibility, and issues arising from companies, with the factors affecting the work-life balance being expressed more frequently and having a guiding effect with regard to the virtual brain drain.
Türkiye’de Sanal Beyin Göçü: Uzaktan Yurtdışına Çalışanların Deneyimleri Üzerine Nitel Bir AraştırmaHalim Baş
Sanal beyin göçü, dünya üzerindeki küresel şirketlerin rekabet avantajı sağlamak ve daha nitelikli çalışanlara çoğunlukla daha ekonomik koşullarda erişebilmek adına izledikleri stratejilerin bir çıktısıdır. Sanal beyin göçü, neden ve etki faktörleri ile düşünüldüğünde coğrafi olarak yer değiştirmeksizin gerçekleşen bir durumdur ve dünyada üzerinde giderek artmaktadır. Sanal beyin göçünün yaygınlık hızı, etki faktörleri dikkate alındığında Covid-19 süreciyle ilişkilendirilse de daha öncesinde başlayan bir süreç olarak belirtilmektedir. Ancak pandemi süreciyle beraber çalışanların esneklik arayışları ve başta ekonomik koşullar olmak üzere farklı beklentilerini karşılama arzusu bu olguyu giderek büyütmüş ve güçlendirmiştir. Bu çalışmada amaç, uzaktan yurtdışı bir firma adına çalışanların deneyimlerine odaklanarak ilgili araştırmacı ve politika yapıcılara bir çerçeve sunmaktır. Araştırmada nitel metodoloji kullanılmış ve Türkiye’nin altı farklı şehrinden 11 katılımcıdan e-görüşme tekniği ile veri toplanmıştır. Elde edilen veriler betimsel analiz tekniği ile analiz edilmiştir. Araştırmadan elde edilen sonuçlara göre, ekonomik faktörler, esneklik arayışı, firmalardan kaynaklı meseleler ve iş yaşam dengesini etkileyen unsurlar çerçevesinde şekillenen arayışların daha yoğunlukla ifade edildiği, sanal beyin göçüne yönlendirici etkisinin var olduğu görülmüştür.
The brain drain has taken different forms these days, both physical and virtual. The virtual brain drain differs from the physical brain drain in terms of its causes and effects. This phenomenon occurs in parallel with developed and developing countries and brings about both opportunities and difficulties. The criteria that determine these opportunities or challenges emerge in line with countries’ priorities, policies, resources, strengths, and weaknesses. However, the virtual brain drain also differs from the physical brain drain in terms of how it emerges. Initially, the factors that determined this distinction involved the requirements of the information and technology age. This led to a renewal of the traditional concept of brain drain to take into account the phenomenon of the virtual brain drain. Another factor has been the possibility of spatial flexibility during work. The development of information and communication technologies has significantly contributed to employees transferring abroad by minimizing the physical effort. In this regard, the virtual brain drain has become embodied among a contracted workforce and a flexible working model.
Flexibility is a distinct interpretation of the technical advancements and other elements that directly or indirectly affect the relevant sphere of activity (in particular labor markets) based on the needs of the era. Employment policy planning is especially at the forefront of the modification and transformation of national industrial systems. Among these modifications and transformations is an evaluation of the concept of work flexibility in terms of the new job forms that have been brought about by the technological shift in consumption and production patterns.
Since 1975, technological advancements in communication have provided cost savings for businesses, production structures have shifted to areas of expertise, and collaborations with external suppliers have made significant changes in consumer demands, necessitating the need for more flexible employees.
Nevertheless, the technological transformations, changes in labor demand, globalization and international competition, unemployment, expansion and changes in the service sector, acceleration of competition and economic efficiency, supply-and-demand expectations with regard to the nature of labor, wage systems, and dialogues between parties can be counted as the general reasons for the existence of flexible working.
Remote working is a form of flexible working that has gained popularity, with alternatives at various levels. Remote at any level, fully remote, remote during the pandemic, partial/hybrid remote working, and remote work choices have been applied in accordance with companies’ and institutions’ frameworks. As a result of the creation of numerous goods and services in the 20th century in particular, working from home has become a generally accepted style of working in the service industry. With the acceleration of information technologies and communication in recent years, work can be done remotely these days from many areas. As an elevated idea, these professions are virtual. Virtual work is compatible with flexible corporate models and is considered an extension of a demand independent of place when employees or specialists are in faraway offices or countries.
Multinational corporations increasingly play a crucial role in employment, welfare, quality of life, and investments because of their strategic locations. Therefore, globalization has expanded beyond the goods and financial markets and accelerated toward markets with technology and knowledge workers; geographical mobility has also increased more than ever, resulting in an increase in the number of employees for companies with diverse cultures and organizational structures around the world. In this context, such a global increase suggests the concept of brain drain. In addition to being a physical concept in the classic sense, brain drain also includes the virtual type that has occurred in recent years without any physical relocation occurring.
The objective of this study is to investigate the experiences of employees wıth regard to the rapidly expanding teleworking style in Turkey, particularly in the informatics and software industry. Thus, attention will be drawn to this situation so as to evaluate it as a positive or negative experience for Turkey.
This study has preferred being conducted as qualitative research. The study has also selected the phenomenological design, in which obtaining a deep and comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon is the primary objective, and 10-15 participants are considered sufficient. In this context, the study aims to reveal the experiences of remote workers for a foreign corporation in Turkey. For this reason, the study has preferred the interpretation-based phenomenological design. The study uses descriptive analysis as the qualitative data analysis approach for assessing the collected research data. First, the study categorized and organized the participants’ guesses and highlighted them into topics based on their responses to the open-ended questions and the remarks directed toward them. The research collected data from 11 participants in six different Turkish cities using the e-interview technique. The obtained data were analyzed using descriptive analysis. According to the results obtained from the study, the employees’ searches were observed to have been shaped around economic factors, the search for flexibility, and issues arising from companies, with participants more intensely expressing the factors affecting work-life balance to have had a guiding effect on the virtual brain drain.