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The UAE continues to lead MENA rankings in the 2015-16 Global Talent Competitiveness Index
Source: INSEAD , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Wed January 27, 2016 5:39 pm

UAE.  The United Arab Emirates continues to lead the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2015-16 by INSEAD, the business school for the world.

The GTCI is an annual study based on research in partnership with the Adecco Group and the Human Capital Leadership Institute of Singapore (HCLI). This year’s theme of ‘Talent Attraction and International Mobility’ focuses on findings linked to the significant correlation between movement of talent and economic prosperity.

Out of 109 countries, UAE ranked highly, topping the MENA tables at 23, with Qatar at 24, Saudi Arabia at 42 and Kuwait at 51. The UAE’s sustainability ranking for retaining talent rose from 59 in 2014 to number one in 2015. The nation has maintained its top ranking for safety of employees during night hours.

Quality of executive education in management schools also rose, with the ranking improving from 24 in 2014 to 17 in 2015.  Ranking for social mobility through improved economic circumstances also rose from 11 to eight in 2015.  The use of social and virtual networks for career advancement contributed to the rise in ranking, from 10 in 2014 to seven this year.

Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report, commented: “With a very welcoming business climate and liberal tax policies that are conducive to investment, the UAE has shown tremendous leadership in achieving its vision of a knowledge-based economy. With its high standard of living and cosmopolitanism, the nation continues to attract and retain talent from the world over. The UAE’s commitment to embedding innovation in its technology infrastructure and all aspects of knowledge creation and its transfer is exemplary.”

He elaborated: “Temporary economic mobility of highly skilled people may initially be seen as a loss for their country of origin, countries have to understand that this translates into a net gain when they return home. GCC countries have benefited from talent arriving from across the world and by building world-class universities to develop local human capital. The skills that an expat gains working in these dynamic markets, mixing with different cultures, are invaluable assets when he moves onwards. Such an international experience is what top organizations are looking for today.”

Speaking on the future trends in the job market, he warned however that: “At the same time, new technologies might create new challenges for workers at different skill levels: low-skill jobs are being destroyed by automation; medium-skill jobs may be displaced by algorithms; this will be a key feature of so-called ‘industry 4.0’ ”.

Global Talent Competitiveness Index rankings (MENA countries)

GTCI Input Sub-Index rankings

The report cited that mobility is vital to fill skill gaps; and a high proportion of innovative, entrepreneurial people were born or studied abroad. It is hence not surprising that top ranking countries have positioned themselves as desirable destinations for high-skilled workers. Faced with new types of migration flows, decision makers need to shape policies and strategies to address both the immediate concerns of their constituencies and the longer-term interests of their citizens.

Through analyses and comparisons of the scores registered by individual countries, a number of patterns and similarities emerge, converging towards eight key messages relating to this year’s theme: 

·         Mobility has become a key ingredient of talent development: creative talent cannot be fully developed if international mobility and ‘brain circulation’ are not encouraged. 

·         The migration debate needs to move from emotions to solutions: countries will find it advantageous to address movements of people through a talent perspective. 

·         Management practices make a difference in attracting talent: apart from monetary incentives and standard of living, another important differentiator in talent attraction is the professionalism of management and investment in employee development.

·         While people continue to move to jobs and opportunities, jobs are now moving to where the talent is: some countries have started to attract the attention of international investors because of creative talent at a reasonable cost: China, South Korea, Philippines and Vietnam in the Asia Pacific region; Malta, Slovenia, Cyprus and Moldova in the European region; Turkey, Jordan and Tunisia in the MENA region; and Panama in Central America.

·         New ‘talent magnets’ are emerging: While the US, Singapore and Switzerland have long been attractive to talent, competition may become fierce among emerging talent hubs such as Indonesia, Jordan, Chile, South Korea, Rwanda and Azerbaijan, as more aspire to join these increasingly attractive destinations.

·         Low-skilled workers continue to be replaced by robots, while knowledge workers are displaced by algorithms: as mobility continues to be redefined in new ways, notably through technology, knowledge workers are affected and this shift signals that entire sectors of activity may be displaced. Some people may have to work virtually for different employers from their homes, while others have to retrain and move far to obtain jobs.  

·         In a world of talent circulation, cities and regions are becoming critical players in the competition for global talent: agility and branding of cities seem to be more critical differentiators than size as an increasing number of large cities adopt imaginative policies to attract global talent.

·         Scarce vocational skills continue to handicap emerging countries: gaps in vocational skills continue to exist in emerging countries such as China, India, and South Africa, and particularly in Brazil where talent capabilities show signs of weakening on all fronts. This is also true for some high-income countries such as Ireland, Belgium and Spain.

Paul Evans, The Shell Chair Professor of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Emeritus, at INSEAD, and Academic Director and co-editor of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, noted: “Our global data analysis shows it takes more than pay to attract and retain talent, also from abroad — the quality of management practices is increasingly important. While higher educational opportunities remains a key factor of talent attraction and retention, an increasingly important pull factor lies in the professionalism of companies and management practices, exemplified by highly ranked Nordic countries which score particularly high on meritocracy, professional management and attention to employee development. This is especially important for the millennial generation who will become the creative leaders of the future.”  

The top three countries ranked on talent competitiveness are Switzerland at number one, followed by Singapore and Luxembourg in second and third places, respectively, remaining the same as in 2014.

Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2015-16 Rankings: Top Ten


Countries ranked in the top 10 clearly demonstrated openness in terms of talent mobility — close to 25% of the respective populations of Switzerland and Luxembourg were born abroad; the proportion is even 43% in Singapore.

The proportion is also significant in the United States (4), Canada (9), New Zealand (11), Austria (15), and Ireland (16). There has been little change in the top 20 since the release of the last edition of the GTCI report, with the exception of Czech Republic (20) entering this group, New Zealand improving its performance significantly, while Canada and Ireland saw modest declines.

This year’s GTCI  country coverage has improved, allowing the report to cover 109 countries (versus 93 countries in 2014), representing 83.8 percent of the world’s population and 96.2 percent of the world’s GDP.

For more information on the Global Talent Competitiveness Index and to download the full report, please visit: 

Follow twitter: #GTCI for updates

YouTube Knowledge Video: 

Photo Caption:  Bruno Lanvin, Executive Director of Global Indices at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report,

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 change lives and to transform organisations. A global perspective and cultural diversity are reflected in all aspects of our research and teaching.

With campuses in Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and Abu Dhabi, INSEAD’s business education and research spans three continents. Our 148 renowned Faculty members from 40 countries inspire more than 1,300 degree participants annually in our MBA, Executive MBA, specialised master’s degrees (Master in Finance, Executive Master in Consulting and Coaching for Change) and PhD programmes. In addition, more than 9,500 executives participate in INSEAD’s executive education programmes each year.

In addition to INSEAD’s programmes on our three campuses, INSEAD participates in academic partnerships with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia & San Francisco); the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago; the Johns Hopkins University/SAIS in Washington DC and the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York; In Asia, INSEAD partners with School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University in Beijing and China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai.  INSEAD is a founding member in the multidisciplinary Sorbonne University created in 2012, and also partners with Fundação Dom Cabral in Brazil.

INSEAD became a pioneer of international business education with the graduation of the first MBA class on the Fontainebleau campus in Europe in 1960. In 2000, INSEAD opened its Asia campus in Singapore. And in 2007 the school began an association in the Middle East, officially opening the Abu Dhabi campus in 2010.

Around the world and over the decades, INSEAD continues to conduct cutting edge research and to innovate across all our programmes to provide business leaders with the knowledge and sensitivity to operate anywhere. These core values have enabled us to become truly "The Business School for the World."

More information about INSEAD can be found at

About the Adecco Group
The Adecco Group, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is the world’s leading provider of HR solutions. With more than 32,000 FTE employees and around 5,100 branches in over 60 countries and territories around the world, Adecco Group offers a wide variety of services, connecting around 700,000 associates with our clients every day. The services offered fall into the broad categories of temporary staffing, permanent placement, career transition and talent development, as well as outsourcing and consulting. The Adecco Group is a Fortune Global 500 company.

Adecco S.A. is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN).

About Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI)
The Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) is an aggregator and neutral player in the human capital ecosystem. HCLI offers the unique ability to bring together multiple perspectives and voices from business, government and academia, offering thought leadership and insights on understanding Asia, successfully doing business in Asia and its implications on leadership and human capital strategies for Asia. Through its efforts, the Institute 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.

HCLI is a strategic alliance between the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore Management University (SMU)

For more information, please visit



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