The 2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report has revealed that Switzerland, Singapore and the US continue to lead the world in talent competitiveness, while countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa are seeing a progressive erosion of their talent base.

The report 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.

This year’s 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 economies. New approaches are emerging to stimulate entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial talent and future-proof employees – for example, the 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 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. This growing importance of cities is due to their greater flexibility and ability to adapt to new trends and patterns – as nimble economic units where policy can be changed more swiftly, cities are thus more attractive for talent, especially entrepreneurial talent.

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 the 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.

For the first time, the 2019 GTCI provides a longitudinal analysis of talent competitiveness based on the results of all GTCI editions since 2013. The main finding is that the gap separating the talent champions from the rest of the global community has been growing. Talent competitiveness is strengthening in groups of countries where it is already comparatively high and weakening in those where it is relatively low.

Bruno Lanvin, executive director, Global Indices, INSEAD, and co-editor of the report, commented: “In the top 10 of talent competitiveness ranking, only two non-European countries can be seen: Singapore and the US. This underlines that Europe remains a talent powerhouse, but also that countries with great universities and a strong education sector are best at attracting talents. Because high-level talents are also more mobile internationally, no comparative advantage can be seen as irreversible, and those countries will need to remain open and innovative to keep their leadership.”

Felipe Monteiro, INSEAD affiliate professor of strategy, academic director and co-editor of the report, further stated: “Entrepreneurship appears to be a decisive talent to succeed; all types of organisations have to attract and enhance entrepreneurial talent, in an era where ecosystems around the globe are drastically reshaped by digital transformation.”

Alain Dehaze, chief executive officer, 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.”

Vinod Kumar, CEO, 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.”

The 2019 GTCI report, published by INSEAD, the Business School for the World, in partnership with the Adecco Group and Tata Communications, is a comprehensive annual benchmarking measuring how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent, providing a unique resource for decision makers to understand the global talent competitiveness picture and develop strategies for boosting their competitiveness.

The report measures levels of Global Talent Competitiveness by looking at 68 variables. The 2019 index covers 125 national economies and 114 cities (respectively 119 and 90 in 2018) across all groups of income and levels of development.

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