Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018: India shows improvement in growth and global knowledge skills, jumps up 11 ranks since last year

Bengaluru: The environment for fostering and growing talent in the country has been improving as witnessed by India’s jump 11 ranks from rank 92 to 81 in the Global Talent Competitive Index for the year 2018. Per the judgement parameters, India’s strengths were talent growth and global knowledge of the talent pool.

In addition to the talent competitiveness ranking, this year’s report investigated the theme of ‘Diversity for Competitiveness’ and included three types of diversity: cognitive, identity, and preference (or value). The theme of diversity (collaboration between people with different personalities, knowledge sets, experiences and perspectives) was chosen because it plays a critical role in linking talent policies to innovation strategies. Paying attention to demographic diversity nurtures a sustainable and innovative future and helps organizations retain and develop talent. The report also highlights that there is a cost to diversity: people are often ill equipped to collaborate with those different from themselves.

Despite India improving its overall ranking, it remains at serious risk of continuing to lose its best talent. While it ranks high on the Global Knowledge skills, India has a low rating in ‘Talent Retention and Attraction’ rank, ranking 99 and 98 respectively out of 119 countries surveyed. Mumbai and Delhi ranked at the bottom of the ‘Global City Talent Competitiveness Index’, with a ranking of 89 and 90 respectively. The cities were identified on the basis of their reputation and growing footprint in attracting global talent rather than as a function of their size or national-capital status. However, the report states that overall low performers are not without ammunition in the market for talent, and that this creates ample room for strategy and planning to improve along this dimension.

Classified among its peer countries on different parameters, India fared better. Within the regional sub-group ‘Central and Southern Asia’, India is 2nd behind Kazakhstan. Among its income group of ‘Lower-middle income’ countries, India ranked 5th. All the BRICS nations have seen an improvement compared to last year, though India continues to rank the lowest among them. China rose to the 43rd rank, Russia is 53rd, South Africa 63rd and Brazil 73rd.

The 2018 edition of GTCI included 68 variables (from 65 in 2017), covered 119 countries and 90 cities (vs. 118 and 46 respectively in 2017). This year again, not surprisingly, GTCI rankings are topped by developed, high-income countries.

Switzerland maintains its number 1 position, followed by Singapore and the United States.
European countries continue to dominate the GTCI rankings, with 15 in the top 25.
Among the non-European countries ranking high this year are Australia (11th), New Zealand (12th), Canada (15th), the United Arab Emirates (17th), and Japan (20th).
Latin America often leads in producing female graduates (Argentina ranks 5th globally).
Efforts in education (compared to GDP per capita) are high in Africa (Botswana is 1st, Lesotho 2nd, Senegal 5th) showing that the challenges have been correctly identified in that area, though the effectiveness of those investments can be further improved.

This year’s edition of GTCI also revealed that the top ten countries have several key characteristics in common but share one major feature: they all have a well-developed educational system providing the social and collaboration skills needed for employability in today’s labour market.

On further examination, there are several other characteristics in common between the top-ranking countries such as a flexible regulatory and business landscape, employment policies which combine flexibility and social protection, and external and internal openness.

The in-depth supplementary analysis of the 2018 report reveals how organisations, cities and nations are approaching diversity. It reveals that diversity is not an end in itself, but must always be accompanied by a culture of inclusion in order to flourish and have real impact. Targets and statistics cannot replace cultural acceptance and openness.

GTCI findings, however, show that there is no absolute model for diversity and inclusion. Switzerland, for example, does not score as well as its top GTCI position would imply on leadership opportunities for women. The Nordics score remarkably well on most variables related to collaboration, internal openness, social mobility and gender equality, but they struggle in external openness, and hence in attracting talent.

“Diversity is a crucial leverage for innovation”. Peter Zemsky, Deputy Dean and Dean of Innovation of INSEAD, stresses that “frameworks for organisational leadership emphasise the behavioural importance of networking externally rather than internally.” Today, fuelled by the explosion of information in the knowledge economy, exploiting local innovation opportunities is becoming more important for the competitive advantage of corporations than exploiting R&D at corporate headquarters”.

Alain Dehaze, Adecco Group Chief Executive Officer, “Focusing on diversity and inclusion is crucial to overcome the fractures and inequalities of our age. This means nurturing a culture of inclusion, starting at home and school, fighting bias and developing social and collaborative skills, which are key to unleash the power of work and will make the future work for everyone.”

Priyanshu Singh, Country Manager & MD, Adecco Group India, said, ‘Attracting global talent needs to be the main aim of India in order to compete with other countries and improve its talent retention rate. Through adoption of a culture of diversity and inclusion, we can further foster growth and increase the level of innovation. We need to recognise the need for understanding different cultures and make international skills an integral part of education.’

Vinod Kumar, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata Communications, asserts the view that: “As digital transformation becomes a priority for more and more organisations, highly automated technologies fuelled by AI are entering the workplace. As humans and machines start to work side-by-side, businesses must start viewing talent and diversity generated competitiveness as extending beyond humankind to include machine. In accepting the primacy of digital infrastructure, neither talent nor diversity will be considered as exclusive to people alone.”