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2022 Global Talent Competitiveness Index: Global talent inequalities hinder progress in achieving key Sustainable Development Goals

Europe, Asia, Middle East, Americas
03 November 2022

  • Switzerland, Singapore and Denmark rank Top 3; European countries dominate the Top 25; and China moves to 36th, becoming the most talent-competitive upper-middle-income country.

  • The ‘great divergence’ between richer and poorer economies continues, and current signs indicate that it will likely grow in the coming years.

  • War in Ukraine has exacerbated inequalities that existed post-COVID; the unequal global talent landscape significantly diminishes our collective ability to meet key SDG targets.

  • Cities can play a central role in reducing inequalities by adopting the right talent policies.


  In French              In Chinese

Switzerland, Singapore and Denmark are the most talent competitive countries, according to the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2022. Switzerland and Singapore firmly retain their leading position while Denmark makes it into the top 3.

United States ranks 4th, and many European economies continue to dominate – Sweden (5th), Netherlands (6th), Norway (7th), Finland (8th) and the United Kingdom (10th). France (19th), managed to retain its spot from last year (its highest position ever).  The non-European countries which rank among the Top 25 are Australia (9th), Canada (15th), New Zealand (18th), Israel (23rd), Japan (24th) and the United Arab Emirates (25th). 

Titled “The Tectonics of Talent: Is the World Drifting Towards More Talent Inequalities?”, the GTCI 2022 is published by INSEAD, in collaboration with Portulans Institute and the Human Capital Leadership Institute, and launched during the school’s SDG week.

The 9th edition of the report covers 133 countries and 175 cities from 79 economies around the world across all income groups. It is a comprehensive annual benchmarking report that measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent. It provides a unique resource for decision makers to understand the global talent competitiveness picture and develop strategies to boost their economies.

Key messages:

  • Despite continuing imbalances, the global talent competitiveness scene remains dynamic, and carries encouraging signs. Denmark outpaces the US and enters the Top 3. China continues its climb, moving up one spot this year, its new record position through excellent performance in several pillars. 
  • Recent and current crises could have a negative and sometimes irreversible impact on the talent situation of poorer economies. COVID persists in our lives while international tensions and inflation have increased to startling levels. Limitations to the circulation of goods, services and people may increase, with significant impact on labour markets.
  • Even in higher-income economies, labour markets may become more fragmented, and hence generate new types of inequalities. The K-shaped recovery (forecasted last year) has taken new potency in 2022 due to disrupted supply chains and a return of nationalistic and protectionist policies. New work trends (such as ‘quiet quitting’, and younger generations’ increased attraction towards gigs and part-time jobs) are calling for new ways to grow, attract and retain talent.
  • Gender divides call for renewed efforts. Even in some of the richer parts of the world, recent progress has been annihilated by COVID. Girls’ enrolment in education has become a challenge again in many poor regions. 
  • A more unequal global talent landscape would significantly diminish our collective ability to meet key SDG targets. Efforts are urgently required to reduce those talent inequalities that are the most likely to prevent the world from reaching specific SDGs. This is particularly the case for SDGs 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 8 (decent work and economic growth), and 10 (reduced inequalities).

Felipe Monteiro, Co-author of the report, Academic Director of the GTCI and INSEAD Senior Affiliate Professor of Strategy, said: “After COVID, the world is once again facing unprecedented challenges of economic and geopolitical crises. Government, business and talent are feeling the negative compounded effects of financial, food and energy shocks, particularly impacting the poor and emerging economies. This will likely elevate the level of inequalities on the global talent scene and hinder the progress in achieving key SDG targets.”  He added, “Swift actions are urgently required to reduce talent inequalities. Governments and organisations should champion economic and education reforms to allow young generations to contribute through higher levels of entrepreneurship, innovation and productivity.”

Bruno Lanvin, Co-author of the report, Distinguished Fellow at INSEAD and Co-Founder of Portulans Institute, commented: “In the global competition for talents, cities continue to move faster than most nation states. This year’s GCTCI champions include Singapore and San Francisco, two cities that have successfully combined high-performance online services for their citizens with sustainable strategies. Other cities have adopted innovative talent strategies by making good use of their comparative advantages, like Dubai, which combines its global transport advantage and advanced medical services into a medical-tourism proposition. Many top performing cities align their resources with what they see as the future of work: they offer shared working spaces and collaboration opportunities for free agents, gig-workers, and digital nomads, to whom special e-residency permits are offered (Singapore, Tallinn, Quito).

He also stressed that “Gender inequalities call for renewed and accelerated efforts, as they have been broadening again since the start of the COVID crisis. Providing girls with equal opportunities to access school, and women with equal opportunities to access leading positions are now two critically important ways to reduce talent inequalities”.

The World's Most Talent Competitive Countries, 2022

Doris Sohmen-Pao, Chief Executive Officer of the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI), the Knowledge partner of the GTCI this year, said, “Asia presents a paradox: it is home to more than 60% of the world’s population and is a key driver of the world economy, yet it lags in talent competitiveness. In order to drive recovery and accelerate growth in a sustainable and holistic manner, there is need for a more coordinated and collaborative approach between public and private sectors.”

Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2022 – Top 20 Ranking

 RankCountry  Rank Country
 1Switzerland11 Luxembourg
 2Singapore12 Iceland
 3Denmark 13 Ireland
 4 United States 14 Germany
 5 Sweden 15 Canada
8Finland18New Zealand
10United Kingdom20Estonia

Cities can play a central role in reducing inequalities by adopting the right talent policies. There is a growing number of medium-sized cities aiming to combine talent and investment attraction strategies while pursuing key SDG targets. These cities, as well as talent hubs (cities that grant priority to growing, attracting, and retaining talent) are prime examples for others to reduce talent inequalities, while being better equipped to face the future by having the right conditions to weather through turbulence caused by economic and political storms.

For the second consecutive year, San Francisco is the top-ranked city in the Global City Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI), followed by Boston and Zurich, both improved one position from last year. Singapore is the only Asian city to rank within the top 20.

Global City Talent Competitiveness Index (GCTCI) 2022 – Top 10 Ranking

 RankCity  RankCity 
 1San Francisco (US) 6 Singapore (Singapore)
 2Boston (US)  7 Geneva (Switzerland) 
 3 Zurich (Switzerland) 8 Helsinki (Finland)
 4 Seattle (US) 9 Munich (Germany)
 5 Lausanne (Switzerland) 10 Dublin (Ireland)

More information and media resources:

Download the full report here

Download the Infographics here

Follow us on Twitter #GTCI2022 for live event updates

Join the live launch event here at 12:00 CET, 3 November 2022 


About Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI)
The GTCI report is published annually by INSEAD, the Business School for the World, in partnership with Portulans Institute and Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI). The report is a comprehensive annual benchmarking report that measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent. It provides a unique resource for decision makers to understand the global talent competitiveness picture and develop strategies for to boost their competitiveness. The 2022 report covers 133 countries and 175 cities from around the world across all groups of income and levels of development.

About Portulans Institute
Founded in 2019, the Portulans Institute (PI) is an independent nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute based in Washington DC. Portulans (or portolans) are ancient nautical maps, first made in the 13th century in the Mediterranean basin and later expanded to include other regions. The word portolan comes from the Italian portulano, meaning “related to ports or harbors”, and which since at least the 17th century designates “a collection of sailing directions”. The Portulans Institute aims at providing them with the best available data and analyses, and the directions that they need. This is why our logo combines a compass, and pi, which is not only a powerful number found in geometry, algebra, physics and arts, but also an infinite series of digits, with no pre-written rule telling us what the next one might be. More information about PI at

About Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI)
The Human Capital Leadership Institute is a centre of excellence that facilitates the acceleration of leadership development and strategic human capital management capabilities in Asia. Through its efforts, HCLI 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. The institute achieves this by driving Asia-specific research and insights, creating industry-relevant executive development programmes and fostering rich networks between thought leaders in business, government and academia. HCLI is a subsidiary of Temasek Management Services, which is wholly owned by Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited, and is supported by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower and the Singapore Economic Development Board.

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 165 renowned Faculty members from 42 countries inspire more than 1,500 degree participants annually in our Master in Management,  MBA, Global Executive MBA, Specialised Master’s degrees (Executive Master in Finance and Executive Master in Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 11,000 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.

Contacts for press:

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