Singapore has emerged in the 13th position out of 63 countries in the latest World Talent Ranking compiled by IMD. The country’s performance proves that it is a leader in attracting and retaining highly-skilled talent. Hong Kong was placed on the 12th position and was the only Asian country along with Singapore to rank in top 15.
The World Talent Ranking, compiled by the famous Swiss business school IMD, is based on countries’ performance in three main categories — investment and development, appeal and workforce readiness. The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas. These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.
Singapore performed exceptionally well on these two factors- appeal (showing a high ability to tap into the overseas talent pool) and readiness (availability of skills and competencies in the talent pool). On the last factor alone, it ranked second out of all 63 countries.
However, it was seen as comparatively weak in terms of investment and development of talent – in terms of total public expenditure on education (as a percentage of GDP), it ranked only 59 out of 63.
Commenting on the performance of the two Asian countries Singapore and Hong Kong, Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, said, “Hong Kong and Singapore both compete fiercely for the best foreign workers and do so with great success.”
He added, “However, there are challenges which both economies face in terms of talent competitiveness. In Singapore, the high level of indebtedness, the difficulty in supporting investment in education, and an increasing cost of life, all make attracting foreign talent to the city-state much more difficult.”
Europe continues to dominate the 2017 list, with 11 out of the 15 most talent competitive economies based on the continent, after a strong performance in 2016. Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium remain the most competitive countries in the 2017 IMD World Talent Ranking. Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Luxembourg make up the top-ten.
On the other end of the rankings, the lower spots were taken up by Venezuela, Mongolia, and Eastern European countries such as Croatia and Romania.
The high ranking performance of the European countries was due to its outstanding education systems that set them apart from the rest of the pack. On average, each has a high level of investment in education accompanied by a superior-quality educational system, from primary to tertiary levels. This allows them to develop local talent and at the same time attract foreign, highly-skilled professionals, which many European businesses rely upon to perform.