UAE, Saudi hit top 30 in IMD talent index

The UAE and Saudi Arabia both scored impressively in terms of attracting, developing and retaining talent, according to research by the World Competitiveness Centre

European economies lead when it comes to attracting, developing and retaining top talent, but the UAE and Saudi Arabia both scored impressively according to a major new study by World Competitiveness Centre at IMD, the global business school. 

The annual IMD World Talent Ranking assesses the methods countries use to attract and retain the talent their businesses need to thrive.

The UAE ranked 25th in the 2017 IMD World Talent Ranking, performing better than last year.

The UAE relies heavily on attracting and retaining foreign talent, which it manages extremely well, scoring highly in the appeal (3rd) and readiness (7th) factors. As well as being attractive to employees, the UAE also ranks 4th in attracting foreign students. However, the UAE continues to lag behind in investment and development (58th), according to the report.

Saudi Arabia is a new entrant to the ranking in 2017. The nation performs consistently well in the overall rankings (26th) and all the three main categories (investment and development: 26th. Appeal: 31st. Readiness: 26th). Investment in education is impressive – setting the ground work for future homegrown talent.

Earlier this year, the UAE scored impressively in IMD’s overall global competitiveness and digital competitiveness rankings.

Europe continues to dominate the 2017 list, with 11 out of the 15 most talent competitive economies based on the continent, after a strong performance in 2016. Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium remain the most competitive countries in the 2017 IMD World Talent Ranking.

Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Luxembourg make up the top-ten.

The study draws on an in-depth survey of thousands of executives from 63 different economies, and more than two decades of data from the IMD World Competitiveness Centre.

The IMD World Talent Ranking is based on countries’ performance in three main categories — investment and development, appeal and readiness. The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas. These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.

It is European countries’ outstanding education systems that set them apart from the rest of the pack. On average, each has a high level of investment in education accompanied by a superior educational system, from primary to tertiary levels. This allows them to develop local talent and at the same time attract foreign, highly-skilled professionals, which many European businesses rely upon to perform.

European economies perform well in all three talent components of the ranking — appeal, readiness, and investment and development.

The research suggests Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, continues to play a starring role in sustaining the continent’s talent competitiveness.

Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said: “Germany is one of the largest exporters of talent and the country also attracts talent from across the world.

“Despite criticism from some quarters surrounding immigration, Germany’s policies sustain its access to the international talent pool.

“However, with the European crisis still taking its toll on the German economy, the country has slightly decreased its total expenditure on public education.”

Elsewhere, Ireland ranks 14th, the United Kingdom 21st, Portugal 24th, and France 27th. Spain is 32nd, followed by Italy (36th) in the lower half of the ranking.

Denmark is the highest-ranking Nordic country overall at 2nd in the IMD World Talent Ranking. It is ranked 1st in the investment and development category, with a strong performance in expenditure on education (5th). The country ranks 10th in appeal, mostly because of its effective implementation of apprenticeships and the prioritization of employee training. Denmark is also ranked second for language skills.

Meanwhile, the USA risks losing some of its global competitiveness if it does not increase investment in public education.

On average, the USA invests less in developing local talent when compared with its peers on the global stage. However, the USA has outperformed most other countries when it comes to appealing to foreign talent through quality of life, opportunities for career advancement and a high level of remuneration.

The top economies in the IMD World Talent Ranking share similar attractiveness indicators. They invest significantly in their outstanding educational systems, they offer a superior quality of life, and they offer substantial opportunities for career advancement throughout the entire professional life span.
The full study and the 63 individual country profiles are available here.


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