Singapore slips up in terms of ability to attract top talent

Singapore's competitiveness was affected by its comparatively low investment in education.

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Office workers walk to the train station during evening rush hour in the financial district of Singapore March 9, 2015 Reuters

Singapore has tumbled out of a top ten talent rankings list prepared by a top business school. The latest report by Swiss business school IMD shows Singapore has slipped in terms of its ability to attract and retain global top talent.

According to the IMD World Talent Report 2016 , among Asian countries, only Hong Kong remains in the top ten of the list which considers' an economy's robustness, business environment and the overall ability to attract talent. Other top Asian economies such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, China and India slipped in the 2016 talent league table.

Singapore tops the list, followed by Denmark, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands in the first five places. Finland, Norway, Austria and Luxemburg, along with Hong Kong make up the top ten. Malaysia figures at the 19th spot while the US occupies 14th and the UK 20th. Australia is ranked 17 in the list.

"There's no doubt that many Asian economies, Singapore arguably chief among them, remain among the very best attractors of talent from abroad," Arturo Bris, the director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, said.

"There's no doubt, too, that they're able to improve their overall competitiveness as a result of the knowledge and experience this foreign talent brings - but this isn't enough to compensate for the lack of development of local talent, particularly with regard to the paucity of public-sector investment in education.

The IMD experts told the Business Times that Singapore's competitiveness was affected by its comparatively low investment in education, and the inability to raise home-grown top talent.

The cost of living in Singapore, which is higher than in 55 countries figuring in the list, is also another reason for the city state's poor performance.

"Singapore, like Hong Kong, is incredibly expensive for expats to live in. The rising cost of living may potentially become a major concern for those working here or thinking of doing so," Bris added.