Singapore Ranks First in Asia Pacific in Global Talent Competitiveness Index

Singapore retains its top spot in Asia Pacific for the fourth consecutive year in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017, announced during GTCI’s regional launch at INSEAD Asia campus in Singapore.

Produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI), the GTCI is an annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.

Focusing on “Talent and Technology”, the 2017 report explores the effects of technological change on talent competitiveness and the future of work, arguing that while jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities.

Singapore is ranked second globally for the fourth consecutive year. Australia (6th), New Zealand (14th), Japan (22nd), Malaysia (28th) and South Korea (29th), ranks within Top 30 globally.

High ranking countries share key traits, including educational systems that meet the needs of the economy; employment policies that favor flexibility, mobility and entrepreneurship; and high connectedness of stakeholders in business, education and government as well as high level of technological competence.

Commenting on the report, Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD, said: “This year’s GTCI report shows that countries in the Asia Pacific region demonstrate strong talent readiness for technology. It also highlights the important role of education. Educational systems have to revamp to help learners foster learning agility and adjust on the fly of changing conditions.”

Singapore has shown outstanding performance in the Enable, Attract and Global Knowledge pillars. Countries can learn from Singapore’s well-developed regulatory and market landscapes for global talent to thrive and its ability to anticipate the movements of the economy.

Asia’s giants China (54th) and India (92nd) are still away from the top.

“Overall, a big challenge for China and India lies in their ability to attract talent, and they both face the issue of local higher-skilled workers leaving to live and work abroad,” says Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD and co-editor of the report.

“To improve their attractiveness, the countries can further boost their regulatory and market landscapes.

“However, delving deeper and looking at the city-level, the two countries have metropolises exemplary in terms of their talent attractiveness.

“Shanghai and Mumbai (apart from Singapore) are the only Asian cities identified and ranked in the inaugural edition of the Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI), but future editions will undoubtedly include more, confirming the growing attractiveness of Asian cities.”

Australia performs exceptionally

Australia (6th) performed exceptionally being ranked in the Top 10 this year, as it is one of the top countries in the Attract and Global Knowledge Skills pillars.

However, Vocational and Technical Skills show room for improvement. This may indicate that the country’s structural shift towards knowledge jobs and services is perhaps leaving gaps in the technical/vocational area.

“Although Singapore, Australia and New Zealand all feature in the Top 20 of this edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, these latest findings highlight the increasing challenges that many countries in the Asia Pacific region have in attracting and retaining talent,” says Christophe Duchatellier, Regional Head of Asia Pacific, The Adecco Group.

“In 2017 we are already observing organizations across the region placing an increased emphasis on world-class talent attraction strategies and tactics that will support them in remaining competitive. We would expect to see more organizations offering internship and apprenticeship programmes to foster skills development.”

Malaysia leads group of upper-middle-income countries

Malaysia (28th) is the top-ranked country in the group of upper-middle-income countries. The country ranks above many high-income countries such as South Korea (29th), Portugal (31st), Spain (35th), and Italy (40th).

“Malaysia performs particularly well in the pillars of the Enabling context and Vocational and Technical Skills,” says Paul Evans, The Shell Chair Professor of Human Resources and Organizational Development, Emeritus, at INSEAD, and Academic Director and co-editor of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.

“It also does well on External Openness as it has been able to attract talent from overseas. In addition, in terms of talent readiness for technology, Malaysia ranks higher than South Korea even though the IT infrastructure of the latter is much superior. The country can boost its rankings if it further improves in Internal Openness in terms of tolerance of minorities.”

Japan (22nd) has a solid overall performance, although it dipped slightly from last year. One of its main challenges is the Attract pillar where it is far behind the top three countries of this region. Middle-income countries such as Malaysia attract more foreign talent.

Although South Korea (29th) makes it into the top 30 this year, it is the lowest-ranking high-income country in the region. Despite being the top country in dimensions such as Tertiary enrollment and the Market Landscape—with world-class R&D in­vestments—the country has major room for improvement in the Attract pillar.

The Philippines (52nd) is the top lower-middle-income country, ranking above several upper-middle-income countries such as China (54th) and the Russian Federation (56th), and even above some high-income countries such as Kuwait (57th) and Oman (59th). Its greatest strength is its good pool of both Vocational and Technical Skills and Global Knowl­edge Skills.

Globally, European countries continue to dominate the GTCI rankings, with 7 of them in the top 10. Switzerland maintains its top position, followed by Singapore and United Kingdom.     

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