HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore is a more competitive talent hub than Hong Kong

The Lion City’s 13th place ranking is five spots ahead of the SAR.

Singapore retained the 13th spot in the global talent competitiveness leaderboard compiled by the IMD World Talent Ranking 2018, which compares Asia Pacific countries terms of in developing, attracting, and retaining skilled professionals.

The city ranked second in the readiness category which measures the availability of skills and competencies amidst stellar scores in science in schools, educational assessment by The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and student mobility inbound. It also nabbed the 15th spot in appeal given the high quality of life and strong institutional frameworks in place and 34th place in the investment and development category.

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Singapore’s appeal to foreign professionals was also lauded given its limited talent pool. However, the city lags behind in terms of public investments in education, a worrying pitfall that could also be observed in Hong Kong which fell six places to flop at the 18th spot.

“[I]n small economies it is much easier to implement educational policies in an efficient manner,” Professor Arturo Bris of the IMD Business School Switzerland and Singapore told Singapore Business Review. “However, both countries still invest less in education than the average of countries in our sample (4.5%) of GDP.”

The high cost of living also poses a major risk to Singapore’s competitiveness, noted Bris. In fact, the city holds the distinction as the world’s most expensive to live in for the fifth consecutive year, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit, as it ranks as the costliest place to buy and run a car and third priciest destination to buy clothes.

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Another growing risk to the city’s competitiveness would come in the form of a growing tendency towards protectionism.

“In the last years, there appears to be an increasing level of hostility—especially in Singapore—towards foreign workers, which would be, in my opinion, detrimental in the long run. Both countries need to realize that global competition is a major force to improve the skills and compensation of domestic talent. That both countries are declining in our assessment of “Talent Attractiveness” indicates that they are losing ground in favour of other neighbouring countries, like China,” added Bris. 

Switzerland held on the crown for the fifth consecutive year with Denmark trailing closely behind. The European dominance was evident in the global rankings with Norway, Austria and Netherlands rounding out the top five.

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