SINGAPORE: Singapore is eighth in a table ranking 64 countries on their ability to develop, attract and retain a highly skilled workforce, climbing four places since last year.
The Little Red Dot is in first place for countries in the Asia-Pacific region, followed by Hong Kong, which came in second, and Australia, which is ranked third, according to the 2023 World Talent Ranking (WTR), recently released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
Meanwhile, in terms of appeal, defined as the ability to attract and retain talent from both international and domestic markets, Singapore is in 14th place.
The report says that Singapore ranked well in the following categories:
- High world ranking of health infrastructure
- High remuneration of management
- Foreign high-skilled personnel are attracted to Singapore’s business environment
However, it also identified the following weaknesses:
- Low at attracting and maintaining talent
- Low total public expenditure on education
- Low pupil-teacher ratio in secondary education
This year’s WTR also noted the long-lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and how they affect a country’s talent competitiveness landscape.
Switzerland is ranked No 1 followed Luxembourg and Iceland, respectively.
The report notes that Singapore, along with Belgium, are on the rise.
Sweden, however, fell from second to tenth place in this year’s rankings.
Interestingly, over a quarter of executives—27 per cent—of the 4,000 who were polled for the report have said that working remotely even part-time hinders the development of one’s career.
However, the countries where remote work is perceived as less of a hindrance in career progression are the same ones that lead in attracting and retaining highly skilled professionals and female participation in the job market.
Professor Arturo Bris, Director of IMD’s World Competitiveness Center (WCC), which produces the WTR, says, “This year’s rankings also show that as economies become more service-oriented – a transformation process that has also reached China (41st) and India (56th) – the physical presence of employees in the country of their employers is no longer needed. All in all, we observe the emergence of a new type of employee that has been educated in one country, lives in another, and works for a company located in a third country.”
He also underlined the importance of a country’s education system, which Singapore would do well to take notice of, given the weakness identified in the report.
“Adapting education systems to the needs of economic systems remains one of the big challenges of talent competitiveness. The ‘winners’ in our ranking are also the countries that emphasize professional training and apprenticeships over general academic subjects. We do not recommend one versus the other, but the economic trade-offs of either choice are relevant,” Prof Bris added.
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