INSEAD study underlines links between migration, education, training and competitiveness

A new study by international business school INSEAD, in collaboration with the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI) and Adecco Group, ranks national human capital competitiveness in 2014.

INSEAD Europe campus entrance

Isabelle Nègre

Measuring the quality of talent 93 national economies can produce, attract and retain, INSEAD’s second annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) placed Switzerland at number one, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg in second and third places, respectively.As in 2013, European countries dominate the lastest set of GTCI rankings, released last week, with only six non-European countries in the top 20: Singapore (2), the United States (4), Canada (5), Australia (9), New Zealand (16) and Japan (20).While the GTCI 2014 top 20 countries are all high-income countries is not surprising given their ability to attract foreign talent through higher quality of life and remuneration, the study reveals six key factors affecting talent competitiveness across countries of diverse GDP per capita and development levels:
  • Openness is key to talent competitiveness: the top three all have a high degree of openness to trade, investment, immigration and new ideas, embracing globalisation while leveraging human resources.
  • Fiscally stable countries need talent competitiveness for sustainable development: mineral or oil rich countries, or those with context-specific competitive advantage, should foster talent competitiveness to ensure sustainable prosperity.
  • Talent growth can be internal or external: some countries like the U.S. and in Europe successfully focus on developing talent within their own borders, while others such as China attract foreign talent or send their elites abroad for further education.
Interestingly, 2014 CGTI leaders include a significant number of small, high-income economies. Bruno Lanvin, executive director of Global Indices at INSEAD and report co-author, commented, It’s really quite striking that among the top three countries – Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg – two are landlocked and one is an island. Faced with specific geographical challenges and a quasi-absence of natural resources, these countries have had no choice but to be open economies, a critical ingredient to being talent competitive.”The report highlights “strong immigration traditions” among many of the top 20 economies, including the U.S. (4), Canada (5), Sweden (6), the United Kingdom (7) and Australia (9).Education as a priority is a further key feature of these high-performing countries, as is the case for the other Scandinavian countries, which all feature in the top 15: Denmark (8), Norway (11) and Finland (13). The continued importance of vocational training is also highlighted in the remaining six factors:
  • Countries must consider employability or risk high unemployment: talent for growth means meeting the actual needs of a national economy. Switzerland, Singapore and the Nordic countries customise their education systems towards appropriate levels of employable skills.
  • Education systems need to reconsider traditional learning: talent development in the 21st century must go beyond traditional formal education and develop vocational skills.
  • Technology is changing the meaning of ‘employable skills’: technological changes will affect new segments of the labour market, impacting the 250 million ‘knowledge workers’ globally today.
Paul Evans, the Shell Chaired Professor of Human Resources and Organisational Development, emeritus, at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report, noted, “Perhaps one of the most interesting findings this year is the renewed importance of vocational education. It’s not just higher education that is important today – vocational learning needs to be integrated into secondary education."Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Adecco Group, also highlighted the importance of work-based training for growing talent, "The talent mismatch is striking: despite 33 million people looking for a job in the US and Europe, more than 8 million positions are left vacant. Meanwhile, youth unemployment of over 50% persists in some European countries.“The push for structural reforms is crucial to create jobs in Europe and to boost the economy. Governments and companies like ours should work hand in hand to create an environment where first job experiences, education and apprenticeships better prepare young people for what companies need."Ilian Mihov, dean of INSEAD, said, “We live in a world where talent has become the core currency of competitiveness – for businesses and national economies alike. Yet there is an all-too-frequent mismatch between education systems and the needs of labour markets.“Businesses and governments need new kinds of leaders and entrepreneurs, equipped with the skills that will help their firms and countries to thrive in the global knowledge economy. To help them making the right decisions in an increasingly complex environment, we need the kind of indicators and metrics that GTCI offers.”2014  Global Talent Competitiveness Index Rankings: Top Ten
  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. Luxembourg
  4. United States of America
  5. Canada
  6. Sweden
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Denmark
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

Related Articles