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The top countries for talented employees – including South Africa

(The Southern African Times) – The countries that are the best at developing and attracting talent to make themselves more competitive invest in education, implement apprenticeships, and have companies which train its employees.

This is according to the 2020 World Talent Ranking from the International Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) World Competitiveness Centre.

“The top performers, therefore, are countries that invest in a holistic concept of education. To put it differently, highly competitive countries focus their talent development efforts on every stage of the educational process,” the IMD said.

Here are the top 10 countries and South Africa:

  • Switzerland;
  • Denmark;
  • Luxembourg;
  • Iceland;
  • Sweden;
  • Austria;
  • Norway;
  • Canada;
  • Singapore;
  • The Netherlands; and
  • South Africa (52nd).

Switzerland leads the ranking in the implementation of apprenticeships, is second in the total public expenditure on education per student, in the efficiency of its health infrastructure and in the impact of brain drain in its economy.

The IMD World Talent Ranking (WTR) uses a set of indicators which measure the development, retention and attraction of a domestic and international highly-skilled workforce. The methodology of the World Talent Ranking defines Talent Competitiveness into three main factors:

  • Investment and Development
  • Appeal
  • Readiness

South Africa ranks 52nd on the list, down from 50th before.

“Leveraging existing practices and factors that give a particular country a comparative advantage, such as regulations around immigration that facilitate recruitment, will be important. However, the increase in the openness of businesses to remote work and overseas staff might prove to be an even more significant change,” said Arturo Bris, director of the World Competitiveness Center.

Talent economies of the future might therefore be rebuilt in a way that mitigates some `anti talent-attraction’ factors that were, until now, considered weaknesses such as low quality of life or high cost of living. It will be an extremely complex process, though, as issues of fiscal jurisdiction and/or tax compliance would also need to be addressed,” he said.

The results are based on a combination of last year’s data and a survey conducted from January to April 2020.

The lockdown restrictions from the pandemic has halted mobility and education. This can be seen on the rating of the UK which is down to 23rd, while Germany was 11th, Belgium 16th and Ireland 18th. This could also show that uncertainties around Brexit have impacted the competitiveness of the UK.

The found the best way to preserve an effective talent pools is:

  • Remaining attractive to overseas staff;
  • Minimizing brain drain; and
  • Retaining top talent.

But the uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic could become a new hurdle in keeping workforces motivated.

“Maintaining motivation will be key to achieving the levels of productivity necessary to smooth the transition to a post-Covid environment. Enabling employees to acquire new or redeploy existing skills — to transition to remote working for example — may be part of this,” the IMD World Competitiveness Centre said.

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