UAE continues to lead MENA region in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index

ABU DHABI, 27th January, 2016 (WAM) – The United Arab Emirates continued to lead the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2015-16 according to a report by INSEAD, the business school for the world.

The GTCI is an annual study based on research in partnership with the Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI). This year’s theme of ‘Talent Attraction and International Mobility’ focuses on findings linked to the significant correlation between movement of talent and economic prosperity.

Out of 109 countries, the UAE ranked highly, topping the MENA tables at 23rd, with Qatar at 24th, Saudi Arabia at 42nd and Kuwait at 51st. The UAE’s sustainability ranking for retaining talent rose from 59th in 2014 to number one in 2015. The nation has maintained its top ranking for safety of employees during night hours. Quality of executive education in management schools also rose, with the ranking improving from 24th in 2014 to 17th in 2015. Ranking for social mobility through improved economic circumstances also rose from 11th to 8th in 2015. The use of social and virtual networks for career advancement contributed to the rise in ranking, from 10th in 2014 to 7th this year.

Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report, commented, “With a very welcoming business climate and liberal tax policies that are conducive to investment, the UAE has shown tremendous leadership in achieving its vision of a knowledge-based economy. With its high standard of living and cosmopolitanism, the nation continues to attract and retain talent from the world over. The UAE’s commitment to embedding innovation in its technology infrastructure and all aspects of knowledge creation and its transfer is exemplary.”

He elaborated, “Temporary economic mobility of highly skilled people may initially be seen as a loss for their country of origin, countries have to understand that this translates into a net gain when they return home. GCC countries have benefited from talent arriving from across the world and by building world-class universities to develop local human capital. The skills that an expat gains working in these dynamic markets, mixing with different cultures, are invaluable assets when he moves onwards. Such an international experience is what top organisations are looking for today.”

Speaking on the future trends in the job market, he warned however that, “At the same time, new technologies might create new challenges for workers at different skill levels: low-skill jobs are being destroyed by automation, medium-skill jobs may be displaced by algorithms, this will be a key feature of so-called ‘industry 4.0’ .”

The report cited mobility as being vital to fill skill gaps, and a high proportion of innovative, entrepreneurial people were born or studied abroad. It is hence not surprising that top ranking countries have positioned themselves as desirable destinations for high-skilled workers. Faced with new types of migration flows, decision makers need to shape policies and strategies to address both the immediate concerns of their constituencies and the longer-term interests of their citizens.

While people continue to move to jobs and opportunities, jobs are now moving to where the talent is. Some countries have started to attract the attention of international investors because of creative talent at a reasonable cost: China, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam in the Asia Pacific region; Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus and Moldova in the European region; Turkey, Jordan and Tunisia in the MENA region; and Panama in Central America.

New ‘talent magnets’ are emerging: While the US, Singapore and Switzerland have long been attractive to talent, competition may become fierce among emerging talent hubs such as Indonesia, Jordan, Chile, South Korea, Rwanda and Azerbaijan, as more aspire to join these increasingly attractive destinations.

Countries ranked in the top 10 clearly demonstrated openness in terms of talent mobility: close to 25% of the respective populations of Switzerland and Luxembourg were born abroad; the proportion is even higher at 43% in Singapore. The proportion is also significant in the United States (4), Canada (9), New Zealand (11), Austria (15), and Ireland (16). There has been little change in the top 20 since the release of the last edition of the GTCI report, with the exception of Czech Republic (20) entering this group, New Zealand improving its performance significantly, while Canada and Ireland saw modest declines.

This year’s GTCI country coverage has improved, allowing the report to cover 109 countries (versus 93 countries in 2014), representing 83.8 percent of the world’s population and 96.2 percent of the world’s GDP.