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Open economies top Global Talent Competitiveness Index

For the second time in a row high income countries Switzerland and Singapore have claimed the top two places in the annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), compiled by international business school INSEAD.

Canada and Australia with their open immigration policies have made the top 10 this year. Photo: INSEAD.

“You need to be open to trade, investment, immigration and new ideas"

While little has changed among the top 10, six are Europe-based as opposed to eight last year, as Canada and Australia creep into the top 10 for the first time.

The GTCI measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain, using six pillars as a framework: enablers, attract, grow, retain, labour and vocational skills, and global knowledge skills.

“The openness of an economy is clearly a key ingredient to be talent competitive”

“The openness of an economy is clearly a key ingredient to be talent competitive,” Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD told The PIE News.

“You need to be open to trade, investment, immigration and new ideas. If we look at the champions we have this year, indeed we see them as great champions of openness,” he added.

Describing the success of top three nations Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg, Lanvin said: “their small population, geography and lack of natural resources have meant that they have had to play the game of globalisation from early days”.

Lanvin has also remarked that many of the other top 20 economies have strong immigration traditions, such as the US, Sweden, Canada, the UK and Australia: “If you want to be talent competitive you have to be a magnet for talent and that includes diversity.”

As Switzerland maintains its handle on the top spot, this year’s rankings also reveal a growing awareness of the importance of employability outcomes and vocational skills.

“You take the Swiss government, over half of them don’t come out of the university stream, they come out of the vocational stream,” said Paul Evans, Academic Director of GTCI, “and so I think we have to take vocational education, that is, employability, much more seriously.”

“I think we have to take vocational education, that is, employability, much more seriously”

Asian countries with noticeable improvements include China which climbed six places and is ranked at 41 and India which rose seven places to 76.

Meanwhile, both authors predict that future indices will likely reflect those nations that embrace digital technology: “Technology is changing radically a number of segments in the labour market,” said Lanvin.

“The role of educators is critically important but needs to be updated so that new generations can gain more from education. Methods will change such as MOOCs, technology, science, and learning how to learn.”

Established in the 1950s, INSEAD has campuses in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. GTCI itself launched for the first time in 2013 and the 2014 index surveyed 93 countries using 65 variables.

Authors Lanvin and Evans have described the index as a “very robust model” but with continual improvements being made to the methodology, they have affirmed that year-on-year comparisons will not be wholly reflective until 2015-16, by which time the model will have stabilised.

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