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These countries are best at attracting world’s top talent

By Kevin Varley

Switzerland retained the top spot in a ranking of nations based on their ability to attract and retain talent, marking a decade of domination in the competition to get the creamy layer of human capital.

Singapore and the US rounded out the top three slots in the list dominated by European nations — seven out of the top 10, according to the 2023 Global Talent Competitiveness Index published by business school Insead.

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Switzerland placed first in enabling and retaining talent categories due to its high levels of social protection and its natural environment. Quality of life and sustainability will be a “critical asset for those aiming at becoming talent hubs” over the next decade, according to the report.

Singapore’s “highly-educated labor force and innovative economy” vaulted it to the best overall in global knowledge skills, while the US placed first in growing talent due to its “world-class universities and business schools”.

Among other countries, the UK placed 10th overall on the strength of its tertiary education and had dominant showings in general knowledge skills and talent growth despite low marks in vocational and technical skills.

Elsewhere, China placed first among the so-called BRICS nations made up of China, Brazil, India, Russia and South Africa. Its status as “the global leader in matching the skills of people with the needs of the economy” was anchored by its “Achilles heel” in attracting talent, which contributed to its score of 40th overall.

India, the world’s most populous nation, ranked 103, regressing in the past three years since 2020 to place at the bottom of the BRICS pack. A slump in business sentiment hampered its ability to attract talent domestically and from overseas, according to the authors.

Competition for talent among nations may grow even fiercer over the next 10 years, according to the report, which cited rising uncertainties in trade, investment and geopolitics. The report placed emphasis on the ability of countries, cities and organizations to innovate and project soft-power.

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This may create further talent disparity between rich and poor countries as the “the wealth/talent correlation remains strong,” according to Insead.

The report also found that Covid strengthened gender inequality, as parity in high-skilled jobs decreased over the past three years from a 2019 peak.

AI may exacerbate this trend as “unqualified or low-qualified labour will bear much of the additional pressure, while new categories of workers, some with higher skills, will suffer from stronger competition from algorithms and specialised equipment.”

(Published 08 November 2023, 04:56 IST)

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