New Zealand ranked for talent and inclusive development

Editor's Insight: Two new rankings show New Zealand improving as a place for talent but dropping for economic inclusiveness.

The first global rankings for the year are out and they show New Zealand lying just outside the top 10 in both talent competitiveness and inclusive development.

Both sets of tables have been prepared for the World Economic Forum’s Davos summit this week.

The 2018 Global Talent Competitiveness Index benchmarks how countries and cities expand, attract and retain talent.

New Zealand comes 12th and compares with 13th in a rival measure, the IMD World Talent Index, which came out late last year.

Switzerland leads the latest index, followed by Singapore and the US. In general, European countries continue to dominate the GTCI rankings, with 15 in the top 25. Australia edges out New Zealand in 11th place.

Canada (15th), the United Arab Emirates (17th) and Japan (20th) are the only non-European countries in the top 20.

Common characteristics
Above all, the top countries each have a well-developed educational system providing the social and collaboration skills needed for employability in today's labour market.

Other common characteristics are:

• A flexible regulatory and business landscape;
• Employment policies which combine flexibility and social protection; and
• External and internal openness

In addition to the talent competitiveness ranking, this year's report also investigates diversity under three types: cognitive, identity and preference (or value). Diversity is defined as collaboration between people with different personalities, knowledge sets, experiences and perspectives.

“Paying attention to demographic diversity nurtures a sustainable and innovative future and helps organisations to retain and develop talent,” the report says. Nevertheless, it highlights there is a cost to diversity: people are often ill equipped to collaborate with others who are different from themselves.

What is the ideal model?
The report says there’s no absolute model for diversity and inclusion. Switzerland, for example, does not score as well as its top position would imply on leadership opportunities for women.

The Nordic countries 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, the report says.

China has risen 11 places, from 54th in 2017 to 43rd, and scores highly on good talent impact and new product entrepreneurial activity. But it lacks appeal to talent outside the country due to lack of freedom and an authoritarian regime.

• The report contains 68 variables (65 in 2017), covering 119 countries and 90 cities (respectively 118 and 46 in 2017). It was prepared by INSEAD, a business school, in partnership with the Adecco Group and Tata Communications. 

Inclusive development index
This is a wider alternative to gross domestic product, or GDP, which is the traditional way of measuring a country’s economic growth.

Inclusive development also focuses on the living standards, sustainability and reducing inequalities. In other words, how a country shares its economic growth more widely and without unduly straining the environment or burdening future generations.

In the Inclusive Development Index 2018, New Zealand ranks 13 out of 29 advanced economies (Singapore is excluded for lack of data). The full index also covers 73 emerging economies.

New Zealand's alarming drop from ninth last year comes as, on average, most of the other advanced economies have flatlined in terms of inclusion, which is measured by median household income, poverty, and wealth and income inequality, despite boosting their growth and development score by over 3%.

Norway again tops the index followed by other small European economies. Australia in ninth place is the only non-European economy in the top 10.

Details of New Zealand’s performance in 2018 are not yet available but 2017 is here.

It shows New Zealand’s strengths lie in the quality of the financial sector, public service, health, social and educational achievement while the weaknesses are in infrastructure, research, remuneration and housing affordability.    

The relevance of inclusive development
WEF managing director and head of global agenda Richard Samans says inclusive development is particularly relevant at a time when global economic growth is returning to a more robust level and policy-makers could do more to future-proof their economies and make them more equitable. 

“Political and business leaders should not expect higher growth to be a panacea for the social frustrations, including those of younger generations who have shaken the politics of many countries in recent years,” he says.

“Policy-makers need a new dashboard focused more specifically on this purpose. It could help them to pay greater attention to structural and institutional aspects of economic policy that are important for diffusing prosperity and opportunity and making sure these are preserved for younger and future generations.”

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