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IMD releases its 2014 World Talent Report

The brand new World Talent Ranking assesses how well 60 countries meet corporate needs

November 20, 2014

IMD, a top-ranked global business school based in Switzerland, today released its first annual World Talent Report. The report introduces the IMD World Talent Ranking, which includes all 60 countries that are currently ranked in the long-established IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook.

The new ranking assesses a country's ability to develop, attract and retain talent for companies that operate there. It reflects three key factors:
  1. Investment and development in home-grown talent, reflecting a country's public investment in education and the quality of its education system.
  2. Appeal, reflecting a country's ability to retain home-grown talent and attract talent from overseas.
  3. Readiness, reflecting a country's ability to fulfil market demands with its available talent pool.
"The best-ranked countries have a balanced approach between their commitment to education, investment in developing local talent, and their ability to attract overseas talent," said Professor Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. "Countries with smart talent strategies are also highly agile in developing policies that improve their talent pipeline."

The ranking is based on more than 20 indicators. Some of these are statistical and others are drawn from an exclusive IMD opinion survey of 4,300 international executives. In addition, the IMD World Competitiveness Center's extensive historical database allows for an assessment of the ranking's evolution from 2005 to 2014.

Highlights of the 2014 ranking

The 2014 IMD World Talent Ranking is led by Switzerland (1), Denmark (2), Germany (3), Finland (4) and Malaysia (5). Ireland is in 6th place, followed by the Netherlands (7), Canada (8), Sweden (9) and Norway (10), with the US in 12th place. At the bottom of the ranking are South Africa (56), Peru (57), Croatia (58), Venezuela (59) and Bulgaria (60).

  • For the investment and development factor, Denmark leads ahead of Switzerland (2) and Austria (3). Germany (4) and Sweden (5) complete the top five.
  • Switzerland is top-ranked for the appeal factor, followed by Germany (2), the US (3), Ireland (4) and Malaysia (5).
  • Switzerland is also highest-rated for readiness, ahead of Finland (2), the Netherlands (3), Denmark (4) and the UAE (5).

The top-ranked countries from 2005 to 2014

By calculating historical World Talent Rankings for each year from 2005 to 2014, the new IMD report also identifies the most talent-competitive countries—defined as those that ranked in the top 10 for five or more years during this ten-year period.

Canada, Denmark and Switzerland are the only countries ranked in the top 10 every year from 2005 to 2014, while the Netherlands dropped out of the top 10 only once, in 2006.

Sweden has been a top 10 country every year since 2007, peaking at 2nd in 2010 and 2011. Finland missed out only in 2007 and 2008, and was 2nd in 2005. Austria was in the top 10 from 2005 to 2011 before slipping slightly, although it rises to 11th place in the 2014 ranking.

Singapore reached the top 10 in six of these ten years and was 2nd in 2008. Both Ireland and Norway spent five years in the top 10, peaking at 5th (2006) and 6th (2012) respectively.

"Fluctuations in a country's ranking from 2005 to 2014 may stem from cyclical economic and socio-political issues that affect immigration policies and/or investment in education," Professor Bris said. "In some cases, such policies could reduce a country's ability to attract overseas talent despite strong commitment to local talent development."

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The full report is available at

The IMD World Competitiveness Center is a part of IMD

Since 1989 the IMD World Competitiveness Center publishes the World Competitiveness Yearbook, recognized as the leading annual report on the competitiveness of nations.

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