Lifestyle & Culture

IMD World Talent Ranking 2017: Switzerland, Western Europe tops at attracting talent

We can’t say this enough: We’re in a global war for talent.

With unprecedented freedom of movement, we can now all make our own assessments about a country’s prosperity potential. So, here’s some hard data to consider if you’re country shopping.

Lausanne-based Institute for Management Development, one of the top ranked business schools in the world, has just released its Competitiveness Talent Ranking for 2017, an annual list of the most competitive countries, and Europe as a whole is increasingly attractive to highly skilled internationals.

The World Talent Ranking has European countries in 11 of the Top 15 slots for the 63 countries ranked.

Switzerland is ranked No. 1, followed by Denmark and Belgium.

Here’s the full list:

1 – Switzerland

2 – Denmark

3 – Belgium

4 – Austria

5 – Finland

6 – Netherlands

7 – Norway

8 – Germamy

9 – Sweden

10 – Luxembourg

Canada at No. 11 is the first non-Western European country on the list, and the United States is pretty far down at No. 16, ranked one spot ahead of Cyprus.

The ranking that caught our attention was Belgium at No. 3 because let’s just say it – Belgium doesn’t seem to get a lot of positive pub. But as the report points out, the country is quietly focused on providing world-class education and quality of life.

Belgium devotes big expenditures to education (No. 9 in total as percentage of GDP and No. 1 per pupil as percentage of GDP) and invests heavily in its health matrix.

And in case you’re thinking IMD based its No. 1 ranking on the fact that the program is based in Switzerland, the methodology looks pretty straight-up. (You can read the full 108-page report here in .pdf format.)

Rankings are based on a country’s performance in three main categories: investment and development (investment in home-grown talent), appeal (ability to tap into the global talent pool) and readiness (availability of skills and competencies in the talent pool.)

The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas including education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.

From the report:

The economies that perform the best in this edition of the IMD World Talent Ranking share similar attractive indicators. First, education. The leaders in our ranking offer an outstanding educational system from primary to tertiary levels. In addition, they invest significantly in education. Second, they offer substantial opportunities for career advancement throughout the entire professional life span. And third, they offer a superior quality of life.

By region, IMD ranks Western Europe as the most competitive region, followed by North America and East Asia. The least competitive regions are Central Asia and Latin America. Well, the least-competitive in the developed world. Africa isn’t included in the study.

If you dig into the guts of the study, what IMD researchers draw from a global network of partner institutes is that Europe invests heavily in education. BUT, the U.S. still offers far more career advancement opportunities. Also the U.S. is ranked No. 2 in “appeal;” ie, you can go there and make massive amounts of money.

About IMD:

IMD is a top-ranked business school, expert in developing leaders, transforming organizations and creating immediate and long-term positive impact. IMD is based in Lausanne, Switzerland and Singapore.

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