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Business talent study confirms Northern European powerhouse

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IMD business school’s World Competitiveness Center releases 2nd annual World Talent Report. Northern Europe boasts the greatest concentration of business talent hotspots in the world, a major new study of countries’ ability to meet corporate needs has revealed.

Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Belgium all feature in the top 10 of a new ranking published by leading global business school IMD.The annual IMD World Talent Report assesses how effectively countries are able to develop, attract and retain talent for the businesses operating within their economies.Its rankings are based on 20 years’ worth of competitiveness-related data including an in-depth survey of over 4,000 executives in the 61 countries covered by the research.

Professor Arturo Bris, Director of IMD’s World Competitiveness Center, which carried out the study, said: “The key attribute among all the countries that rank highly is agility.

“This is shown in their capacity to adopt and shape policies that preserve their talent pipeline, which in turn makes them what we describe as ‘talent-competitive’.

“With seven countries in the top 10, Sweden 11th, Ireland 16th and Iceland 17th, Northern Europe clearly remains a major source of and magnet for business talent.”

Switzerland topped the rankings – as it did last year – followed by Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Canada, Belgium and Singapore.While Denmark also finished second overall in 2014, Luxembourg rose from 13th place, Norway from 10th, the Netherlands from 7th and Belgium from 17th.Several major economies worldwide fared disappointingly, with the US in 14th spot, the UK 21st, France 27th and mainland China way down in 40th position.

Singapore supplanted Malaysia as the Southeast Asian economy best equipped to develop, attract and retain talent. In Latin America, Brazil, the region’s most powerful economy, was found to have suffered deterioration across a range of relevant performance indicators.

Professor Bris said: “The top economies have consistently achieved a positive balance between encouraging local talent and tapping into top talent from other countries.

“Only the best can truly sustain their talent pipeline by constantly updating and refining the required competencies in response to economic, sociopolitical and other issues.”

The research focuses on three main categories – investment/development, appeal and readiness – which in turn are derived from other factors including education, apprenticeship, employee training, brain-drain, cost of living, worker motivation, quality of life, language skills, remuneration and tax rates.The main categories are aggregated into a yearly overall ranking. In addition, each country’s evolution in the various aspects is assessed over the course of a decade – in this instance from 2005 to 2015 – to identify the most talent-competitive countries.

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