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Singapore ranks first in Asia Pacific in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017

Singapore ranks first in Asia Pacific in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017

Singapore ranks first in Asia Pacific in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017

‘Talent and Technology’ themed report stresses that technology will not kill work and can ‘augment’ human efficiency

Singapore retains its top spot in Asia Pacific for the fourth consecutive year in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2017, announced today during GTCI’s regional launch at INSEAD Asia campus in Singapore.

Produced in partnership with The Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI), the GTCI is an annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent. 

Focusing on “Talent and Technology”, the 2017 report explores the effects of technological change on talent competitiveness and the future of work, arguing that while routine jobs at all levels continue to be replaced by machines, technology is also creating new opportunities. Project and collaborative skills become essential for the innovative work that is opening up.

Singapore is ranked second globally for the fourth consecutive year. Australia (6th), New Zealand (14th), Japan (22nd), Malaysia (28th) and South Korea (29th), rank within Top 30 globally.   

Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017:  Rankings for Asia Pacific

2 Singapore  82 Sri Lanka 
6 Australia 86 Vietnam
14 New Zealand 87 Kyrgyzstan
22 Japan 90 Indonesia
28 Malaysia 92 India
29 South Korea 98 Bhutan
52 Philippines 103 Iran
53 Kazakhstan 108 Cambodia
54 China 111 Pakistan
72 Mongolia 113 Bangladesh
73 Thailand    

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, education and government as well as high level of technological competence.  

Commenting on the report, Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD, said: “This year’s GTCI report shows that countries in the Asia Pacific region demonstrate strong talent readiness for technology. It also highlights the important role of education. Educational systems have to help learners foster learning agility and adjust on the fly of changing conditions. INSEAD looks forward to fully playing its role as a leading global provider of talent and leadership.”

Singapore has shown outstanding performance in the Enable, Attract and Global Knowledge pillars. Countries can learn from Singapore’s well-developed regulatory and market landscapes for global talent to thrive and its ability to anticipate the movements of the economy.

Su-Yen Wong, CEO of Human Capital Leadership Institute, commented: “The recent report published by Singapore’s Committee on the Future Economy suggested that building strong digital capabilities is one of the key strategies that will propel Singapore’s growth for the next two decades. Digital technologies will help small and exposed economies like Singapore punch above their weight by creating means for their businesses and talent to reach out to the global market. Countries must continue to upskill their workforce so that they can adapt to the digitisation wave and the sweeping structural changes that are poised to shakeup traditional work arrangements.”  

Asia’s giants China (54th) and India (92nd) are still away from the top. Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD and co-editor of the report said: “Overall, a big challenge for China and India lies in their ability to attract talent, and they both face the issue of local higher-skilled workers leaving to live and work abroad. To improve their attractiveness, the countries can further boost their regulatory and market landscapes.” He added: “However, delving deeper and looking at the city-level, the two countries have metropolises exemplary in terms of their talent attractiveness. Apart from Singapore, Shanghai and Mumbai are the only Asian cities identified and ranked in the inaugural edition of the Global Cities Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI), but future editions will undoubtedly include more, confirming the growing attractiveness of Asian cities.

Australia (6th) performed exceptionally being ranked in the Top 10 this year, as it is one of the top countries in the Attract and Global Knowledge Skills pillars. However, Vocational and Technical Skills show room for improvement. This may indicate that the country’s structural shift towards knowledge jobs and services is perhaps leaving gaps in the technical/vocational area.

Christophe Duchatellier, Regional Head of Asia Pacific, The Adecco Group, commented, “Although Singapore, Australia and New Zealand all feature in the Top 20 of this edition of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, these latest findings highlight the increasing challenges that many countries in the Asia Pacific region have in attracting and retaining talent. In 2017 we are already observing organisations across the region placing an increased emphasis on world-class talent attraction strategies and tactics that will support them in remaining competitive. We would expect to see more organisations offering internship and apprenticeship programmes to foster skills development”.

Malaysia (28th) is the top-ranked country in the group of upper-middle-income countries. The country ranks above many high-income countries such as South Korea (29th), Portugal (31st), Spain (35th), and Italy (40th).

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 said: “Malaysia performs particularly well in the pillars of the Enabling context and Vocational-Technical Skills. It also does well on External Openness as it has been able to attract talent from overseas. In addition, in terms of talent readiness for technology, Malaysia ranks higher than South Korea even though the IT infrastructure of the latter is much superior. The country can boost its rankings if it further improves in Internal Openness in terms of tolerance of minorities.”

Japan (22nd) has a solid overall performance. One of its main challenges is the Attract pillar where it is far behind the top three countries of this region. Middle-income countries such as Malaysia attract more foreign talent.

Although South Korea (29th) makes it into the top 30 this year, it is the lowest-ranking high-income country in the region. Despite being the top country in dimensions such as Tertiary enrolment and the Market Landscape—with world-class R&D in­vestments—the country has major room for improvement in the Attract pillar.

The Philippines (52nd) is the top lower-middle-income country, ranking above several upper-middle-income countries such as China (54th) and the Russian Federation (56th), and even above some high-income countries such as Kuwait (57th) and Oman (59th). Its greatest strength is its good pool of both Vocational and Technical Skills and Global Knowl­edge Skills. 

Globally, European countries continue to dominate the GTCI rankings, with 7 of them in the top 10. Switzerland maintains its top position, followed by Singapore and United Kingdom.      

Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2017  Rankings: Top Ten

Switzerland  6 Australia 
 2 Singapore  7 Luxembourg
 3 United Kingdom 8 Denmark
 4 United States 9  Finland
 5 Sweden 10  Norway

 For more information on the Global Talent Competitiveness Index and to download the full report, please visit:

Follow twitter: #GTCI for updates

Download the GTCI 2017 report at this link
Download the GTCI 2017 Infographic at this link
Watch the GTCI 2017 Video graphic at this link

For GTCI 2017’s main findings, refer to the

to Press Release. 

About The Adecco Group

The Adecco Group is the world’s leading provider of workforce solutions, transforming the world of work through talent and technology. Each year, The Adecco Group provides over 1 million people around the world with career opportunities, guidance and insights. Through its global brands Adecco, Modis, Badenoch & Clark, Spring Professional, Lee Hecht Harrison and Pontoon, The Adecco Group offers total workforce solutions including temporary staffing, permanent placement, career transition, talent development, and outsourcing. The Adecco Group partners with employers, candidates, colleagues and governments, sharing its labour market expertise and insights to empower people, fuel economies, and enrich societies.

The Adecco Group is a Fortune Global 500 company, based in Zurich, Switzerland, with more than 33,000 FTE employees in 60 countries and territories around the world. Adecco Group AG is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN).

Contacts for press:

  • Europe – Marina Morsellino

Tel: +41 448788966 / [email protected]  

  • Asia Pacific – Ian Grundy

Tel. +65 6835 3400 / [email protected]   

About the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI)

The Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) offers the unique ability to bring together multiple perspectives and voices from business, government and academia, offering thought leadership and insights on understanding Asia, successfully doing business in Asia, and its implications on leadership and human capital strategies for Asia. Through its efforts, the Institute aims to develop global leaders with a strong understanding of leading in Asia, as well as to build Asian leaders with the ability to lead on the global stage. HCLI is a strategic alliance between the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore Management University (SMU).

For more information, please visit

Contacts for press: 

Rachel Tan /Tel: +65 6908 0454 / [email protected]

About INSEAD, The Business School for the World

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD brings together people, cultures and ideas to develop responsible leaders who transform business and society. Our research, teaching and partnerships reflect this global perspective and cultural diversity.

With locations in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore), the Middle East (Abu Dhabi), and now North America (San Francisco), INSEAD's business education and research spans four regions. Our 162 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our Master in Management,  MBAGlobal Executive MBA, Specialised Master’s degrees (Executive Master in Finance and Executive Master in Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 10,000 executives participate in INSEAD Executive Education programmes each year.

INSEAD continues to conduct cutting-edge research and innovate across all our programmes. We provide business leaders with the knowledge and awareness to operate anywhere. Our core values drive academic excellence and serve the global community as The Business School for the World.

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Aileen Huang
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Cheryl Ng
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Gwenaelle Hennequin
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