Singapore tops Asia-Pacific nations in talent competitiveness

According to the IMD World Talent Ranking 2018, Singapore leads the Asia-Pacific pack, followed by Hong Kong and Malaysia.
By: | November 20, 2018


According to the IMD World Talent Ranking 2018 published by the IMB Business School, Singapore is leads the region terms of talent competitiveness. It is closely followed by Hong Kong and Malaysia.

The fifth edition of the annual World Talent Report ranks 63 countries in terms of their performance in three main factors: Investment and Development, Appeal and Readiness.

These categories evaluate a country’s capabilities in areas such as education, workplace training, and language skills.

The rankings are also indicative of a country’s investment in nurturing local talents, how well it attracts and retains talent, and the quality of talent.

European nations, led by Switzerland, led the top ten rankings globally. Canada was the only non-European entrant in the top ten; placing sixth.

Check out the table below to see how Asia-Pacific’s major markets performed in the global rankings for 2018. Last year’s rank is shown in brackets.

Country Rank
Singapore 13 (13)
Australia 14 (19)
Hong Kong 18 (12)
New Zealand 20 (15)
Malaysia 22 (28)
Taiwan 27 (23)
Japan 29 (31)
Korea Republic 33 (39)
China 39 (40)
Thailand 42 (42)
Indonesia 45 (47)
India 53 (51)
Philippines 55 (45)

Notably, Hong Kong dropped by six places to 18, while Malaysia improved by the same number to 22.

Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center at IMD Business School, tells HRM Magazine Asia that Hong Kong’s decline can be attributed to  “political uncertainties and therefore a decline in its prospects as a global talent hub”.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s improvements are due to increased investments in the education and training of its local workforce.

“Looking at Asia’s top performers, Singapore continues to excel in attracting talent from abroad and in offering a top-tier pool of highly-skilled professionals to its firms.”

Compared to countries in the top 10, Singapore lags behind in terms of investments in public education,” added Bris.

Singapore ranks 34 in terms of the Investment and Development factor specifically.

“However, this factor shows a progress of two positions with respect to 2017. Further improvements in this factor will therefore allow the country to enter the top 10,” said Bris.

“Singapore is already competing with Thailand, Malaysia, and Taiwan, to attract foreign talents. So far Singapore wins, but these other countries are improving rapidly. Singapore must ensure that the country remains open to foreign employees,” noted Bris.