Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023

Published 7 November 2023

Over the past ten years, the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI) has gained countless insights from collaborating on the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). Our thanks to collaborators who have worked tirelessly on the GTCI over the past decade, especially INSEAD, who have committed to developing one of the very best indices of its kind—if not the very best! Reflecting on this insightful body of work, three themes stand out.

First, the GTCI has kept pace with the implications of technology innovation for human capital. For instance, the 2015 GTCI report statement that “low-skilled workers continue to be replaced by robots, while knowledge workers are displaced by algorithms” is consistent with automation across factories and office tasks, as well as the advent of generative AI. At first glance, it often seems that technology innovations will destroy jobs. When automated teller machines (ATMs) were introduced to the US in 1969, it was claimed that they would lead to unemployment. In fact, the number of bank tellers went from approximately 300,000 to around 500,000 by 1980. ATMs had contributed to job creation, as human tellers were freed up to provide more complex banking services. Similarly, e-mail was predicted to be a job-destroyer, and although it did disrupt traditional post and parcel services, some, if not most, postal companies found a way to pivot their business models to support the growth in ecommerce. At HCLI, we see technology innovations as opportunities to rethink and redesign our approach to human capital to create new value.

Second, our work on the GTCI has almost always been forward thinking. For example, the GTCI anticipated the uneven war for talent from the very beginning. This resonates with our work on ‘future foresight,’ and our advocacy that future foresight is less about how accurately we predict the future, and more about how we think of multiple possible futures so we can be ready to adapt or respond to expected—and unexpected—challenges. Thanks to its comprehensive data and its thoughtful analysis, the GTCI is an exemplary tool for those developing future foresights from the ever-evolving trends in human capital. Consider Welcome to the Post-Industrial Age, a 2023 analysis of the global shortage of talent caused by declining birth rates in the postindustrial age from the Josh Bersin Academy. It makes clear that the GTCI was uniquely positioned to inform the report’s recommendation, that of shifting to a new model of work characterised by organisational dynamism, human-centred leadership, and HR as a consulting and product organisation. The report shows how designing work around jobs and functional areas to create and deliver value is fast becoming obsolete. Instead, systemic HR can design and organise companies around people and skills, optimising output through projects, initiatives, and services to create new value.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the GTCI is designed with a call to action. The GTCI defines talent competitiveness as the set of policies and practices that enable a country to develop, attract, and empower the human capital that contributes to productivity and prosperity. Hence its assessment of what countries do to produce and acquire talent (input) and what they do to build the workforce’s skills and capabilities to achieve the desired socio-economic outcomes (output.) This special tenth-anniversary edition of the GTCI also presents several critical trends for the future that particularly resonate with HCLI’s work: talent inequalities between individual countries remain high; talent inequalities within countries are stubbornly persistent; and growing uncertainties hamper brain circulation.

In particular, our work on ecosystem collaborations can inform or address the problem of talent inequalities around the world (see 2020’s Ecosystem Edge: Sustaining Competitiveness in  the Face of Disruption by Arnoud De Meyer and Peter Williamson). For instance, the wide range of experiences and challenges regarding talent competitiveness across Southeastern Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam) suggest that a collaborative ecosystem approach could be designed to uplift talent competitiveness across the region. Founded on learning from each other to create inclusivity and accessibility it could raise productivity and prosperity for all countries. Similarly, our work on developing Asian-origin leaders for global leadership positions, such as our Singapore Leaders Network (SGLN) Fellowship, can inform or address the challenges associated with brain circulation, at least with respect to the Southeastern Asian ecosystem.

The tenth anniversary of the GTCI report is a timely reminder that the challenge of talent competitiveness is really a challenge for humanity. Talent competitiveness is defined as a set of policies and practices for enabling individual countries—but how might we re-imagine the challenges of talent competitiveness if we define it as the set of policies and practices that enable humanity?

To this end, HCLI is proud and deeply grateful for our collaboration with INSEAD and the Descartes Institute for the Future—and looks forward to our collective call to action in disrupting the future of human capital.

To find out more, read the full report.

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