Singapore ranked top in Asia for attracting talent, new research reveals

Other countries are learning from Singapore’s emphasis on talent development, says Professor Paul Evans

Singapore ranks top in Asia and second in the world for attracting new talent, according to a new study.

Insead’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) highlighted Singapore’s success in nurturing and developing talent, helping the country maintain its high ranking.

“Singapore is the only country in the world which says its only resource is talent, so it has nurtured talent,” said Professor Paul Evans, academic director and co-editor of the GTCI. “For the last 20 or 30 years, all of the government ministries have been focused on talent: talent attraction, talent retention and talent development.”

Switzerland was ranked first in the fourth edition of the GTCI, with the UK in third position and the US fourth for attracting fresh talent.

Evans added: “Singapore has been quite successful; it doesn’t have oil, it doesn’t have any natural resources, except for a favourable location on trade routes. Talent is the only resource that Singapore has.”

The GTCI used a set of input and output pillars to assess the talent competitiveness of a country and its ability to attract talent, either internally or from abroad; grow talent through continued formal education; and retain and enable new talent.

Dr Don J.Q Chen, assistant director of research and insights at the Human Capital Leadership Institute, said that the report showed Singapore has succeeded in five main areas of the index, including: language and culture, opportunity, pay and lifestyle, professional management practices and the quality of education.

He added: “To close the gap with Switzerland, Singapore must continue to invest in growing talent and vocational skills, and the country has already begun to do so. One of the key areas under the ‘grow’ pillar, in view of digitalisation and shifts in technology, is to focus on continuous education to ensure that the workforce is re-skilled to cope with these changes.”

Ilian Mihov, dean of INSEAD, said: “By focusing on technology and talent, this year’s report points at some of the most challenging issues that the world economy will face in the coming years, having to combine the creation of new job opportunities and sustainable growth while offering new generations the possibility to live and work in a world that reflects the values they believe in.”

The 2017 index highlighted the important traits that high-ranking countries share, including: flexible employment policies and mobility, entrepreneurship and educational systems that support the economy.

INSEAD’s report outlined the impacts of technological change, arguing that while jobs are being continually replaced by machines, technology is providing innovative opportunities for the future.