Singapore tops talent competitiveness index in Asia Pacific for the sixth consecutive year – here’s how it retained its spot

Singapore topped Asia Pacific on the 2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, and came in second in the global rankings.
Singapore Press Holdings

Singapore has again been named a leader in talent competitiveness, according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index published by French business school Insead on Monday (Jan 21).

The city-state came in second in the global rankings behind Switzerland and one spot ahead of the United States.

Norway placed fourth while Denmark came in fifth.

While Insead said that Asian economies were facing “a progressive erosion of their talent base”, Singapore managed to retain its top spot in Asia Pacific for the sixth consecutive year.

The index, compiled in partnership with the Adecco Group and Tata Communications, also ranked cities, where Singapore came in 17th, 10 spots before Hong Kong.

Washington topped the list, followed by Copenhagen and Oslo. The only Asian city that made it to the top 10 was Seoul in 10th place.

Vienna placed fourth and Zurich fifth.

This year, the index took into account 125 countries (and 114 cities) and primarily measured how entrepreneurial talent is being encouraged, nurtured and developed, and how it affects the relative competitiveness of different economies.

According to the report, the top-performing countries – including Singapore – are all higher-income nations.

“Policies and practices that bring about talent competitiveness in more developed countries are less susceptible to political and socioeconomic fluctuations.

“High-income economies have the stability to invest in lifelong learning, reinforcing skills, and attracting and retaining global talent,” the report said.

Singapore: A talent hub

While the US, Canada and Australia have long benefited from global talent, Singapore is one of the few economies that has a clear focus on becoming a talent hub (the other two being United Arab Emirates and Qatar), the report said.

Bruno Lanvin, Insead’s executive director of global indices and co-editor of the report, said that Singapore and the US are “countries with great universities and a strong education sector” and as such, are best at attracting talent.

However, he cautioned that these top countries need to remain open and innovative to retain their leadership as high-level talent is more internationally mobile.

Singapore scored the highest out of all countries in three out of five pillars: Enable, Attract, and Global Knowledge Skills.

Singapore outperformed all the other countries in the Enable, Attract, and Global knowledge skills pillars.

Employees in Singapore fared the best in Global Knowledge Skills. For instance, in professional, managerial or leadership roles that require creativity and problem solving.

However, the report showed that Singapore could improve on talent retention, sustainability and lifestyle factors.

Cities are developing quicker

According to the report, cities as compared to counties are, in fact, developing stronger roles as talent hubs and will be crucial to “reshaping the global talent scene”.

The rising importance of cities and their growing talent attractiveness could be because they are more flexible, better able to adapt to trends and change policy more swiftly.

Alain Dehaze, CEO of the Adecco Group, said that it is crucial for countries and cities to work towards attracting and nurturing talent.

“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.

“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.”

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