SINGAPORE - Singapore has been ranked second-best in the world in its ability to compete for talent for the fourth straight year.
It is also first in the Asia-Pacific, ahead of Australia, which came in sixth globally and was the only other Asian country in the top 10 of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index compiled by business school Insead.
As in previous years, Switzerland took the top spot globally. Britain came in third after Singapore, while the United States placed fourth. Four Nordic countries were notedly in the top 10. They are Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
The annual study, released on Monday (Jan 16), measures a nation's competitiveness based on the quality of talent that it can produce, attract and retain. It was done in partnership with human resources firm Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore.
The 2017 report in particular explores the effects of technological change on talent competitiveness, arguing that while jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities.
High ranking countries share key traits, including educational systems that meet the needs of the economy, employment policies that favour flexibility, mobility and entrepreneurship, and high connectedness of stakeholders in business and government, said Insead.
Commenting on the latest results, 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.... As the report underlines, the role of education will remain fundamental to reach this complex set of goals."
Said Paul Evans, The Shell Chair Professor of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Emeritus, at Insead, and academic director and co-editor of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index: "Routine work is being taken over by algorithms and machines, but this creates new opportunities for connected, innovative work. But our school system, dating from the factory age, prepares our children for routine work rather than for creativity and projects, also neglecting to foster the learning-how-to-learn mentality that is needed in a world where people will have multiple careers during their lives."
Said Mr Alain Dehaze, Adecco Group chief executive officer, said: "The transition will be rocky, so governments and business must act. Education system reforms are urgently needed to provide the right technical and people skills, and the ability to adapt to change. As a multi-career reality becomes the norm, workers must boost employability by committing to life-long learning. At the same time, employment policies must combine employers' need for flexibility with social protection. Only by working together will we respond to the challenges, unleash the power of work and boost prosperity."