RIYADH, November 21, 2017 – Saudi Arabia made a splash in its debut in the IMD World Talent Rankings for this year, performing well in all three core categories and beating France, Japan, Spain and Italy, according to the latest yearly report by the prestigious International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
In the IMD World Competitiveness Rankings 2017, 63 countries are ranked, with Cyprus and Saudi Arabia making their first appearance, the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center said, noting that European countries continued to dominate this year’s list. Topping the rankings were Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium.
“Saudi Arabia is a new entrant to the IMD World Talent Ranking in 2017,” the IMD World Competitiveness Center said. “The nation performs consistently well in the overall rankings (26th) and all the three main categories (investment and development: 26th. Appeal: 31st. Readiness: 26th).”
According to the IMD World Competitiveness Center, the three categories assess how countries perform in areas such as education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.
It defines the first to these core factors as the investment in and development of home-grown talent. Appeal is the ability of the country to tap into the overseas talent pool and Readiness is the availability of skills and competencies in the talent pool, it says.
“Investment in education is impressive – setting the ground work for future home-grown talent,” the report added, referring to the Kingdom.
For Saudi Arabia, education is one of the key pillars of its Vision 2030, the ambitious reform strategy championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, which aims to diversify the economy beyond dependence on oil. The Kingdom’s road map for the future envisages a “modern curriculum focused on rigorous standards in literacy, numeracy, skills and character development”.
Saudi Arabia’s debut global talent ranking puts it a few spots behind the United Kingdom which came in 21st place on the list, two spots behind Portugal (24th) and ahead of France (27th), Japan (31st), Spain (32nd) and Italy (36th). The United States is in the 16th spot.
Among other Arab countries, the UAE ranked 25th, having bested its 2016 score. “The UAE relies heavily on attracting and retaining foreign talent, which it manages extremely well, scoring highly in the appeal (3rd) and readiness (7th) factors. As well as being attractive to employees the UAE also ranks 4th in attracting foreign students,” the report said.
The report said Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium remain the most competitive countries in this year’s IMD World Talent Ranking, followed by the rest of the top 10 — Austria, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, Sweden and Luxembourg.
“It is European countries’ outstanding education systems that set them apart from the rest of the pack. On average, each has a high level of investment in education accompanied by a superior-quality educational system, from primary to tertiary levels,” it said.
The study draws on a survey of thousands of executives from the 63 nations covered by the report, along with IMD World Competitiveness Center’s vast data archive.