UAE in top 20 countries for global talent, report says

Insead survey ranks UAE 19th out of 125 countries, retaining its place as top in the Middle East

United Arab Emirates - Dubai - Aug 11 - 2010 : The Dubai International Financial Centre. ( Jaime Puebla / The National )

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The UAE has kept its top 20 spot in the 2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index report published by graduate business school Insead, leading the Middle East once again.

The annual benchmarking report, which was published Monday, measures how countries and cities grow, attract and retain talent. It covers 125 countries and 114 cities across all groups of income and levels of development.

The UAE (19th) came ahead of other GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia (39th) and Bahrain (40th). Of the top 20, thirteen were in Europe, three in Asia, two in North America and two in Oceania. Switzerland, Singapore and the United States continue to lead the world in talent competitiveness.

“The non-European leaders of the GTCI rankings can be broadly classified into two groups: economies that have long benefited from global talent (the United States, Canada and Australia), and economies that have a clear focus on becoming ‘talent hubs’ (Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar),” reads the report.


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The rankings were measured by six pillars: enable, attract, grow, retain, vocational training skills and general knowledge skills. The UAE was particularly strong in the ‘attract’ pillar, having the third-highest score after Singapore and Luxembourg. The report highlighted the country’s impressive skills of external openness, strong vocational and technical skills, and high degrees of employability.

The pillar with the most scope for improvement for the UAE was general knowledge skills, in which the country ranked 49th. That includes such factors as high-level skills, professionals, high-value exports, and the availability of scientists and engineers.

In the global city rankings, Abu Dhabi came in 55th and Dubai 59th. Europe topped the list with 11 cities in the top 20, but Washington DC was number one.

The five pillars measured were: enable, attract, grow, retain and be global. Abu Dhabi and Dubai both scored highly in such scopes as internet access, individuals in social networks and personal safety. Their overall rankings were affected by low scores in Research & Development expenditure, environmental quality and workforce with tertiary education.

The key finding of the report was that the highest-ranking countries and cities tend to be the most open to entrepreneurial talent. Comparing the results of all GTCI editions since 2013, the report also found that the talent gap between higher and lower-income countries has increased over the last five years.

“Entrepreneurship appears to be a decisive talent to succeed,” said Felipe Monteiro, Insead affiliate professor of strategy and co-editor of the report. “All types of organisations have to attract and enhance entrepreneurial talent, in an era where ecosystems around the globe are drastically reshaped by digital transformation.”

The sixth annual report was published in partnership with human resources consultancy The Adecco Group and global digital infrastructure provider Tata Communications.