UK ranks seventh in the second edition of GTCI release

UK ranks seventh in the second edition of GTCI release

Research highlights importance of ’employable skills’ and vocational education amid changing labour markets and rising unemployment.


  • Talent magnet UK ranked seventh ahead of both France and Germany
  • As the global economic slowdown and unemployment still pose a threat, businesses and governments must concentrate on overcoming the skills imbalance
  • Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) ranks 93 countries based on their ability to grow, attract and retain talent, as a global talent mismatch sees vacant jobs despite mass unemployment

Fontainebleau (France), Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Zurich – 20 January 2015:

The UK has been ranked seventh by INSEAD, the leading international business school, in its annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI).

The study, which focuses on the topic of ‘growing talent for today and tomorrow’, was produced in collaboration with the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI) and Adecco Group. The index, which measures a nation’s competitiveness based on the quality of talent it can produce, attract and retain, placed Switzerland at number one, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg in second and third places, respectively.

A total of 93 countries, representing 83.8% of the world’s population and 96.2% of the world’s GDP ($), were analysed for the index, which aims to provide a practical and strategic tool for governments, businesses and not-for-profit organisations to inform policies in areas such as education, human resources and immigration. It found that a focus on ‘employable skills’ and continued investment in vocational education underpins success in developing, attracting and retaining top talent.

Investment in formal education, professional development and management schools helped the UK retain its position in the rankings. It also performed well in fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in its workforce, whilst vocational skills remain an area for improvement.


2014 Global Talent Competitiveness Index Rankings: Top 10


  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. Luxembourg
  4. United States
  5. Canada
  6. Sweden
  7. United Kingdom
  8. Denmark
  9. Australia
  10. Ireland

As in 2013, GTCI rankings are dominated by European countries, with only six non-European countries in the top 20: Singapore (2), the United States (4), Canada (5), Australia (9), New Zealand (16) and Japan (20).

Commenting on the findings, Peter Searle, CEO of Adecco Group, the UK & Ireland’s leading recruitment organisation, said:

“The UK acts as a talent magnet, attracting skilled workers from abroad. This is supported by a world-class education system that helps attract foreign top talent. Yet a particular challenge for the UK is ensuring that our young people have the right skills when they leave school. Businesses must invest in apprenticeships and other forms of learning on the job that give young people truly employable skills.”

“A key challenge for the UK government is to ensure that our labour market remains flexible. The most talent competitive countries have a flexible approach, investing in their own population but also allowing foreign talent a foot in the door. A closed-door policy would significantly stunt the UK’s competitiveness and hinder innovation.”

The GTCI study reveals six key factors affecting talent competitiveness across countries of different GDP per capita and development levels:

  1. Openness is key to talent competitiveness: Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg all have a high degree of openness to trade, investment, immigration and new ideas, embracing globalisation while leveraging their human resources.
  2. Fiscally stable countries need talent competitiveness for sustainable development: mineral- or oil-rich countries, or those with context-specific competitive advantage, should foster talent competitiveness to ensure sustainable prosperity.
  3. Talent growth can be internal or external: some countries like the US successfully focus on developing talent within their own borders, while others such as China attract foreign talent or send their elites abroad for further education.
  4. Countries must consider employability or risk high unemployment: ‘talent for growth’ means meeting the actual needs of a national economy. Switzerland, Singapore and the Nordic countries customise their education systems towards appropriate levels of ‘employable skills’.
  5. Education systems need to reconsider traditional learning talent development in the 21st century must go beyond traditional formal education and develop vocational skills.
  6. Technology is changing the meaning of ‘employable skills’: technological changes will affect new segments of the labour market, impacting 250 million ‘knowledge workers’ globally.