Switzerland tops Global Talent Competitive Index

Switzerland has retained its position as the world’s best destination at attracting, developing and retaining highly-skilled migrants.

For the third year running, Switzerland has ranked first in the annual Global Talent Competitive Index (GTCI) which measures how well countries ‘Enable, Attract, Grow and Retain’ talent, particularly focusing on skilled expat workers.

Switzerland scored consistently well across all categories, placing first in the Enable and Retain pillars, fifth in the Grow pillar, and seventh in the Attract pillar.

Singapore CBD

Singapore was the next highest ranked country, finishing second for the third consecutive year behind Switzerland. Singapore scored highly on its ability to attract and retain talent due to its openness to business and high quality of life.

However, the indicator of tolerance to migrants showed a relatively poorer performance, the study found.

European countries dominated the top ten places in the Index, with Luxembourg (3rd), Denmark (5th), Sweden (6th), the UK (7th), Norway (8th) and Finland (10th) also classed as being highly competitive with regards to attracting, retaining and developing expats.

Aside from Singapore, the only other two non-European countries to appear in the higher echelons of the list were the United States (4th) and Canada (10th).

The GTCI ranks 109 countries overall. The bottom five countries in this year’s Index were all based in Africa: Mali (105th), Tanzania (106th), Ethiopia (107th), Burkina Faso (108th) and Madagascar (109th).

There were eight key messaged mentioned in the report. They were:

– Mobility has become a key ingredient of talent development: creative talent cannot be fully developed if international mobility and ‘brain circulation’ are not encouraged.

– The migration debate needs to move from emotions to solutions: countries will find it advantageous to address movements of people through a talent perspective.

– Management practices make a difference in attracting talent: apart from monetary incentives and standard of living, another important differentiator in talent attraction is the professionalism of management and investment in employee development.

– While people continue to move to jobs and opportunities, jobs are now moving to where the talent is: some countries have started to attract the attention of international investors because of creative talent at a reasonable cost.

– New ‘talent magnets’ are emerging: While the US, Singapore and Switzerland have long been attractive to talent, competition may become fierce among emerging talent hubs such as Indonesia, Jordan, Chile, South Korea, Rwanda and Azerbaijan, as more aspire to join these increasingly attractive destinations.

– Low-skilled workers continue to be replaced by robots, while knowledge workers are displaced by algorithms: as mobility continues to be redefined in new ways, notably through technology, knowledge workers are affected and this shift signals that entire sectors of activity may be displaced.

– In a world of talent circulation, cities and regions are becoming critical players in the competition for global talent: agility and branding of cities seem to be more critical differentiators than size as an increasing number of large cities adopt imaginative policies to attract global talent.

– Scarce vocational skills continue to handicap emerging countries: gaps in vocational skills continue to exist in emerging countries such as China, India, and South Africa, and particularly in Brazil where talent capabilities show signs of weakening on all fronts. This is also true for some high-income countries such as Ireland, Belgium and Spain.