US falls behind Europe in competitiveness

America has nearly slipped out of the top 10 competitive nations, with a relative failure to attract and retain skilled workers.

US falls behind Europe in competitiveness

Is America the best place in the world to work? Not as long as Europe is around, if the first annual Global Talent Competitiveness Index is anything to go by.

Commissioned by Insead, Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) and Adecco, the study ranked the USA ninth in an international study of competitiveness. The study considered dozens of factors that affect business and compared 103 nations that represented 96.7% of the world's GDP. The nations were analyzed by their abilities to support business, and attract, develop, retain & provide opportunities for skilled workers.

In the US, the strongest factor was education, in which it came third in the world despite high pupil-teacher ratios. However, the nation fell behind when it came to attracting and retaining skilled workers. A below-average ratio of female parlimentarians put the country in 63rd place for that measure of gender mobility, while crime rates meant that the American lifestyle was ranked 38th.

Adecco Group CEO Patrick De Maeseneire said the study reinforced the value of human capital: "Talent has become the key resource of our global economy ... Governments and companies need to work closer together to build labour markets where education systems create the right skills to match employers' needs."

"Nations, particularly those looking to enhance their talent capabilities, cannot take just one variable and concentrate on improving that particular field," added Kwan Chee Wei, CEO of the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI). "Rather, they should take a holistic approach to establish a talent eco-system of government, business and education to address the multifaceted challenges of employability."

It was noted that the top-ranking nations – aside from being predominantly European – shared a number of characteristics. The nations all had a long-standing commitment to education, a history of immigration and clear talent progression strategies.

Top 10 globally competitive countries:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. Denmark
  4. Sweden
  5. Luxembourg
  6. Netherlands
  7. UK
  8. Finland
  9. US
  10. Iceland

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