Bloomberg: “These Countries Are the Best in the World at Attracting Talent”

by Joseph McKeown


For the fifth year in a row, Switzerland lands the top spot on the World Talent Ranking, a report published by IMD Business School. This is based on the country’s ability to consistently and effectively develop, attract, and retain talent. The study consists of surveying over six thousand executives in sixty-three economies and the results are measured by various factors including investment/development on education, the country’s appeal to foreign workers (to include quality of life, taxes, and cost of living), and its ability to create new job opportunities. For some countries, especially in Asia and Latin America, missing one or two of these factors is enough to bump them off the top ranks, making countries like Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands vie for the top spots. 

Bloomberg reports that “China was ranked 39th because of its difficulties in attracting foreign skilled workers and because its public spending on education remains below the average of advanced economies,” according to the World Talent Ranking report published this November. On the other hand, the IMD Business Report ranks Switzerland as number one, confirming its status as a global talent “hub” as it is “4th in Investment and Development, and 1st in both the Appeal and Readiness factors.”

The appeal and readiness factors, according to Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, are effects of investment and development, or, education and training. In a recent CNBC article on the subject, Bris says: “Consistently, you find the European countries dominate….The top countries benefit from the legacy of good education systems and the ability to develop employees."

In the Western Hemisphere, Canada is the only one to rank among the top ten, coming in at 6th place. According to Bloomberg, Latin American countries were among “the least competitive with Mexico in 61st position.” The country arguably suffers from a ‘brain drain’ as well as low public spending on education. In 2014, a report from Americas Quarterly stated that “one of every 19 Mexican’s with a bachelor’s degree or higher was living in the US,” and that 28% of Mexicans “working on master’s degrees or Ph.D.s abroad in 2012 were doing so in the US.” Even then, the United States failed to clinch a spot in the top ten, coming in at 12th in the World Talent Ranking, making Europe the dominant country in developing, attracting, and retaining talent. Indeed, as the Trump administration has made it increasingly more difficult for US companies to recruit and hire foreign nationals and for foreign entrepreneurs to start businesses in the US, other countries have embraced these workers.