TOKYO -- Singapore took the top spot among Asian countries in this year's "IMD World Talent Ranking", mainly due to its ability to offer quality education. Hong Kong and Taiwan also made improvements and advanced on the back of their talent competitiveness.
According to the report, published annually by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development, Singapore secured the top 10 spot globally in 2019, up three spots from a year ago, and achieved the best placement out of countries in Asia.
Now in its sixth year, the report aims to evaluate the quality of a country's talent pool as well as its efforts in developing local talent, or its ability to attract overseas workers. It ranks more than 60 countries in terms of their performance in three main categories: investment and development, appeal, and readiness.
Singapore led the Asia region, mainly due to its performance in measures of readiness. The country has a high percentage of science graduates and has also received high scores under the Program for International Student Assessment -- a worldwide study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, in which students are tested in mathematics, science and reading.
The effectiveness of its primary and secondary education was also a reason for Singapore's high ranking.
Hong Kong and Taiwan also jumped up the ranks. While Hong Kong placed 15th globally, Taiwan experienced one of the largest improvements, moving up seven places to 20th.
Hong Kong earned high scores in the readiness category, while achieving solid results in the other two categories. Its strengths, according to the report, "include the female percentage of the total labor force" and "the availability of competent senior managers."
Taiwan made progress, particularly in terms of the "availability of finance skills" and "senior managers with international experience."
Meanwhile, Japan, China and India all slipped in this year's ranking. Japan dropped six spots to place 35th, ranking lower than South Korea for the first time.
Japan scored lower than previously in employee training, as well as in terms of the effectiveness of its health infrastructure. The report also pointed out that the country had experienced a slump in worker motivation. Subpar results regarding the availability of senior managers with significant international experience or language skills also dragged on its score in the readiness category.
India ranked 59th, six spots lower than last year. The fall was largely due to low scores in the appeal category, with issues such as pollution causing the quality of life to drop, thus failing to attract or retain talent within its economy.
China dropped three spots to 42nd place, its lowest rank since 2016. Although there were some improvements under the appeal heading, such as the levels of worker motivation and more positive opinion among global executives about the skills available in the country, low scores in the appeal category dragged the overall ranking down.
European nations dominated the overall global ranking, securing many of the top 10 spots. Switzerland remained as number one for the sixth consecutive year, while Denmark and Sweden followed as number two and three respectively.
The U.S. remained in 12th place with strong scores on the "total public expenditure on education per student," as well as remuneration.
In a press release, Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, said, "Most leading economies emphasize long-term talent development by focusing on investment and development."
"This emphasis, however, goes beyond purely academic aspects to encompass the effective implementation of apprenticeships and employee training. Such an approach ensures a consistent alignment between talent demand and supply," he added.