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Singapore and Hong Kong lead Asia in attracting talent

With inputs from Wani Azahar.


Singapore and Hong Kong have reaffirmed themselves as hubs for attracting and retaining highly-skilled workers, according to the 4th annual IMD World Talent Ranking 2017 by the World Competitiveness Center at the Institute for Management Development (IMD).

At a media roundtable attended by Human Resources yesterday (20 November), it was revealed that Hong Kong and Singapore led the way this year in Asia drawing members of the global skilled workforce to the region - with Hong Kong ranking 12th and Singapore 13th on the index.

Additionally, Singapore and Hong Kong are the only Asian countries positioned in the top fifteen in the global ranking.

IMD top 15 ranking

The annual ranking assessed 63 countries based on three categories:

  • Investment and development: the investment in and development of home-grown talent
  • Appeal: the ability of the country to tap into the overseas talent pool
  • Readiness: the availability of skills and competencies in the talent pool
How countries perform in education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates are all taken into account.

On that note, Singapore was 41st on investment and development, 17th on appeal, and 2nd on readiness.

Speaking to Human Resources, Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, noted: “To the extent that Singapore relies on foreign talent, it needs to become attractive to foreign talent. This means opening borders, making life easier for immigrants that are going to work here, and equating the rights of foreigners and locals.”

IMD Singapore

On the topic of attracting talent from abroad, Bris commented: “Hong Kong and Singapore both compete fiercely for the best global foreign workers and do so with great success. However, there are challenges which both economies face in terms of talent competitiveness.”

“In Singapore, the big concern is the more negative sentiment around its prospects for the future. The high level of indebtedness, the difficulty in supporting investment in education, and an increasing cost of life, all make attracting foreign talent to the city-state much more difficult.”

In comparison, Hong Kong ranked 24th in investment and development, 11th in appeal, and 6th in readiness.

IMD Hong Kong

On the other hand, Malaysia’s ranking has remained relatively consistent - taking the 28th spot overall in the IMD World Talent Ranking, and placing 19th in terms of investment and development, 30th in appeal and 27th in readiness.

IMD Malaysia


Lead Photo / IMD

Infographics / IMD

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