GTCI 2019: Global talent gaps widen

Business school INSEAD, in partnership with Tata Communications and Adecco Group, launched its sixth annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report earlier this week.

Illustration of world map and connected people
Coinciding with the opening of this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, this comprehensive annual benchmarking measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent. Ranking 125 countries and 114 cities across all groups of income and levels of development, the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) offers a fascinating perspective on global growth, talent competitiveness and a key theme at Davos this year – creating more inclusive capitalism.Alongside the annual country and city rankings, key findings from this year’s study are that entrepreneurial talent has become a key differentiator in relative talent competitiveness.

Winners widen the gap

INSEAD's research further suggests:
  • talent is still drawn to small, high-income economies and the United States
  • the talent gap between higher and lower-income countries has increased over last five years.
The 2019 GTCI report reveals that Switzerland, Singapore and the United States continue to lead the world in talent competitiveness.This UK moves down a place on last year, meaning it has fallen from number three in 2017 to number nine in 2019.Meanwhile, countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa are seeing a progressive erosion of their talent base. 

2019 GTCI Top 20 countries for talent competitiveness

3.United States of America76.64
9.United Kingdom71.44
11.New Zealand71.12
19.United Arab Emirates65.90

Talent even more critical

The report also confirms that talent issues have become a mainstream concern for firms, nations and cities, with talent performance seen as a critical factor to growth and prosperity. As in previous years, higher rankings are associated with higher income levels. High-income economies have the stability to invest in lifelong learning, reinforcing skills, and attracting and retaining global talent.  Policies and practices that bring about talent competitiveness in more developed countries are also less susceptible to political and socio-economic fluctuations.
More from Relocate Global on the Global Talent Competitiveness Index:

Entrepreneurs the engine of growth

This year’s GTCI report has a special focus on entrepreneurial talent: how it is being encouraged, nurtured and developed throughout the world and how this affects the relative competitiveness of different economies.INSEAD’s study reports new approaches are emerging to stimulate entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial talent and futureproof employees. For example, efforts to develop bottom up innovation and empower employees. Such progress is especially true in the cities, where ‘Smart cities’ ecosystems are increasingly acting as talent magnets.The results further show: 
  • the highest-ranking countries and cities tend to be the most open to entrepreneurial talent
  • digitalisation and globalisation are increasing the role of entrepreneurial talent. 

The rising importance of world cities

In a finding likely to be well received by proponents and businesses in the UK calling for greater local democracy and budget control at a regional level, especially in England with consultations on democratically elected mayors in city regions, INSEAD’s report also reveals that cities rather than countries are developing stronger roles as talent hubs and will be crucial to reshaping the global talent scene. INSEAD believes the rise of cities as talent hubs is due to their greater flexibility and ability to adapt to new trends and patterns. They can act “as nimble economic units where policy can be changed more swiftly, cities are thus more attractive for talent, especially entrepreneurial talent.”By city, London – the UK’s highest-ranking in the GTCI based on its ability to attract, enable, grow, retain and build global knowledge (ranking second overall on this latter measure)  – is outside of the top ten at fourteen, but ahead of Brussels (18), Singapore (17), Geneva (16) and Taipei (15). Birmingham comes in at 68.The top-ranked city this year is Washington, DC, followed by Copenhagen, Oslo, Vienna and Zurich. Washington’s position can be attributed to its strong performance across four of the five pillars measured in INSEAD's research, specifically in the “Be Global”, “Attract”, “Grow” and “Enable” pillars. Its steady economy, dynamic population, outstanding infrastructure and connectivity, highly-skilled workforce and world class education are all characteristics which contribute to making the city such a talent hub.
1.Washington, DC (United States)69.2
2.Copenhagen (Denmark)68.0
3.Oslo (Norway)66.1
4.Vienna (Austria)65.7
5.Zurich (Switzerland)65.5
6.Boston (United States)65.4
7.Helsinki (Finland)65.0
8.New York (United States)64.6
9.Paris (France)63.5
10.Seoul (Korea, Rep.)62.7
Despite being outside of the top ten, London (14) is recognised as being the second best city in the world for building global knowledge, ensuring it remains an important global talent hub for people and companies looking to build world-class careers and businesses. However, London fares less well on the retention measure (78).

Creating the right opportunities

Alain Dehaze, chief executive officer of the Adecco Group, said: “As the world of work rapidly changes, there is a danger that if countries and cities do not have the right conditions for attracting talent, people and businesses will move away and look for opportunities elsewhere.“The results of this year’s GTCI report are further evidence of how entrepreneurial talent is being increasingly seen as one way of successfully navigating a world in constant flux.“Nurturing it is a vital part of creating the right environment for talent to flourish and to lay the seeds for success in the future.”

Business and people 'working hand in hand'

On the importance of building the right conditions and cultures for people to thrive, especially as digitalisation – the use of digital technologies to change a business model – takes hold, Vinod Kumar, chief executive officer, Tata Communications, explained: “The concept of openness is critical for entrepreneurial talent and business culture plays a key role here. “Businesses and cities need to work hand-in-hand to cultivate cultures of intrapreneurship and a mindset of continuous learning above all else, as the human factor is key to the success of digital transformation. “This will help unlock the positive potential that technology brings – especially in a world where humans and machines will work side-by-side and different types of collaboration and ideation emerge.”Head to our Talent Management section for more news and insight. 
Enter the 2019 Relocate Awards in-text bannerSubscribe to Relocate Extra, our monthly newsletter, to get all the latest international assignments and global mobility news.Relocate’s new Global Mobility Toolkit provides free information, practical advice and support for HR, global mobility managers and global teams operating overseas.Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centreAccess hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory