Singapore Second Best Country in Global Talent Competitiveness; Malaysia and the Philippines Top Middle Income Groups


For the fifth straight year, Singapore has been ranked the second most competitive country in the world in terms of enabling, attracting, developing and retaining global talent. Switzerland once again took the top spot, with the US in third place and followed by Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

Of the 34 upper-middle-income countries surveyed, Malaysia (placed 27th globally) is ranked the most competitive, followed by Costa Rica (35th) and China (43rd).

The Philippines (54th globally) is rated the most competitive among the 27 lower-middle-income countries, followed by Ukraine (61), Armenia (66), Mongolia (77), Indonesia (77) and India (81).

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018 is the fifth in a series of annual research studies undertaken by the international business school INSEAD, working with the Adecco Group, a global staffing firm, and Indian telco Tata Communications.     

Best Countries for Talent

The Index covered 119 countries, which were measured on 68 variables that were grouped into 14 dimensions:

  • Regulatory landscape
  • Market landscape
  • Business and labor landscape
  • External openness
  • Internal openness
  • Formal education
  • Lifelong learning
  • Access to growth opportunities
  • Sustainability
  • Lifestyle
  • Mid-level vocational and technical skills
  • High-level global knowledge skills
  • Employability
  • Talent impact

The report notes “a high correlation between GDP per capita” and Index scores. All countries in the Top 25 come from the high-income group of economies.

Top 25 Most Competitive Economies  

Most Competitive Cities

The Index also assessed the global talent competitiveness of 90 cities on 17 variables:

  • R&D expenditure
  • Households with Internet
  • Presence of Forbes Global 2000 companies
  • GDP per capita
  • Quality of life
  • Environmental quality
  • Major universities
  • Tertiary enrollment
  • Use of social networks
  • Persona safety
  • Physician density
  • Monthly expenses
  • Monthly rental
  • Workforce with tertiary education
  • Airport connectivity
  • Presence of intergovernmental organizations (IGOs)

No Asian city made it to the Top 35 most competitive metropolitan areas, except for Singapore (ranked 33rd). Hong Kong was not included in the ratings for lack of data.

Top 35 Most Competitive Cities



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