These countries are leading in global talent competitiveness

Talent is one of the key resource pillars of countries’ economic strategy and it goes where it’s most prized and rewarded. Each year, the same group of countries steadfastly attracts and retains the world’s most skilled workers. However, changes are on the horizon, as emerging economies progressively improve their talent competitiveness.

These insights stem from the 2023 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report by one of the world’s leading graduate business schools, INSEAD.

Developed countries continue to dominate the top positions

This year’s index names Switzerland, Singapore, and the United States as the world’s top three most talent-competitive countries. Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland, Norway, Australia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom make up the rest of the top 10 in 2023.

The report found that developed, high-income countries consistently hold the top positions in GTCI rankings. There’s a strong connection between a country’s gross domestic product per capita and its GTCI score. Interestingly, except for Luxembourg and Iceland dropping to the 11-25 range, the same top 10 countries identified in the initial 2013 GTCI rankings have maintained their positions in this year’s report.

1Switzerland11Luxembourg
2Singapore12Ireland
3United States of America13Canada
4Denmark14Germany
5Netherlands15Iceland
6Finland16Belgium
7Norway17Austria
8Australia18New Zealand
9Sweden19France
10United Kingdom20Estonia
  21Malta
  22United Arab Emirates
  23Czech Republic
  24Korea, Rep.
  25Israel
2023 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)

Out of the top 25, European countries maintain a strong presence, comprising 17 of the rankings. Beyond Europe, this year’s top 25 includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, and Israel. Notably, the UAE has progressed from the 25th to the 22nd position, while Japan has exited the top 25, replaced by South Korea at 24th.

Switzerland ranked No.1 in 2023 GTCI

Emerging countries are the core engine of changing talent dynamics

The report calculated how the relative positions of countries in the GTCI have changed in the two periods, GTCI 2013–GTCI 2018 and GTCI 2019–GTCI 2023.  

Notable conclusions from this analysis include significant improvements among several major emerging economies over the past decade. China and Russia, for instance, have transitioned from being talent movers to becoming talent champions. Indonesia, while still a talent mover, has made substantial progress in talent competition.

Furthermore, Mexico has shifted from being a talent laggard to a talent mover. Brazil, although still categorised among the talent laggards, has shown progress within that quadrant and may well soon be categorised as a talent mover. All these five countries have in common an improvement in their ability to retain talent.

Global talent competitiveness

Six major trends for future talent landscape

The 2023 report also outlined six major trends that have emerged in the talent landscape over the past 10 years:

  1. Talent competitiveness will gain even more importance as a critical element of competitiveness, innovation and geo-political soft power for nations, cities, and organizations.
  2. Talent competition will grow fiercer due to the accumulation of uncertainties, international tensions, and the pressing need to address domestic labour market challenges. We should expect more rather than less talent wars.
  3. The world of work will further transform, driven by evolving expectations from younger generations, new economic models, and emerging technologies like AI.
  4. Cities and regions will take the lead in developing innovative talent strategies. Quality of life and sustainability will be a critical asset for those aiming at becoming talent hubs.
  5. Global-level policies focused on talent will be essential to mitigate inequalities in labour markets and harness technological potential for a more sustainable and equitable world.
  6. Skills and education will remain vital tools to empower workers to make meaningful contributions to their economies and societies.

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