The UK places seventh, behind the US and Canada.
The study, which focuses on ‘growing talent for today and tomorrow’, measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain.
“We live in a world where talent has become the core currency of competitiveness – for businesses and national economies alike,” said INSEAD dean Ilian Mihov. “Organisations and governments need new kinds of leaders and entrepreneurs, equipped with the skills that will help their firms and countries to thrive in the global knowledge economy.”
This year’s index highlighted the importance of work-based and vocational training for growing talent.
Switzerland, Singapore and the Nordic countries focus their education systems around ‘employable skills’, which boosts their talent competitiveness.
Shell chair of human resources and organisational development at INSEAD Paul Evans, who co-edited the report, noted the renewed importance of vocational training.
He said: “It’s not just higher education that is important today – vocational learning needs to be integrated into secondary education. In Switzerland thinking about becoming employable starts at an early age. At age 15, over 70% of Swiss school children go on to select the apprenticeship track, combining practical work experience with traditional theoretical learning.”
Patrick De Maeseneire, CEO of Adecco Group, added: “Governments and companies should work hand-in-hand to create an environment where first job experiences, education and apprenticeships better prepare young people for what companies need.”
The top 10
European countries dominated the top 10 countries for global talent competitiveness:
10. Republic of Ireland
Compared to last year, Switzerland and Singapore have remained in first and second place. Luxembourg has moved up from fifth to third place, and Denmark has dropped places from third to eighth this year.
The most improved nation from last year was the US, moving from eighth to fourth place. The UK remained in seventh place.