IMD Business School Puts Switzerland Top in Business Talent Study |

IMD Business School Puts Switzerland Top in Business Talent Study

By Tim Dhoul

Updated August 11, 2016 Updated August 11, 2016

Switzerland has come out top in an extensive study of a country’s ability to attract, develop and retain business talent carried out by IMD business school – an institution which is, of course, based in Switzerland.

Nonetheless, the list of measurements used in the second edition of IMD’s World Talent Report is wide-ranging and includes aspects of education, employee training, brain-drain, tax rates, remuneration and worker motivation. Switzerland’s first place overall puts it ahead of Denmark and Luxembourg in second and third place, respectively.

Notably, among popular MBA study destinations, Canada and Singapore both make the top 10, yet the US and UK languish in 14th and 21st position, respectively.

‘Agility’ highlighted as crucial characteristic by IMD professor

“Pure economic power and talent don’t always go hand-in-hand. The key attribute among all the countries that rank highly in our standings is agility, as shown in their capacity to shape policies that preserve their talent pipeline,” said Arturo Bris, a finance professor and director of the World Competitiveness Center at IMD business school.

World Talent Report top 10

Source: IMD World Talent Report 2015

Overall, countries in Northern Europe are singled out in the research for having “the greatest concentration of business talent hotspots in the world.” Alongside Singapore, Hong Kong fares well in Asia, placing 12th overall, but all countries in Latin America find themselves in the ranking’s bottom third.

Management education portion of study throws up some interesting results

The aforementioned measures are analyzed across two decades of data to produce the overall rankings. Broadly, the measurements made by IMD business school can be thought of as spanning a country’s ability across three principal categories: provisions for investing in and developing business talent, its appeal factor in luring new talent and how ready a country’s workforce is to meet the needs of the business community.   

Within this last category is a section which assesses the country’s provision of management education in meeting the demands of its business community – aided by a survey of executives based in 61 countries, also conducted by IMD business school.

Here, the top 10 is a little different. There is a place for the US, in ninth, as well as for Hong Kong in eighth. Meanwhile, high-ranking countries overall such as Norway, Finland and Germany fall out of the top 10 but remain in the top 20. Luxembourg is down in 31st position here. This isn’t so surprising, given the abundance of management education options in, say, the US compared to Luxembourg, even if the needs of the business community are going to be quite distinct in each case.

The top 10 in IMD's section on management education

Source: IMD World Talent Report 2015

What might be more surprising is the list of countries that still don’t place highly in the management education stakes – the UK is in 25th position, beneath its overall ranking, for instance. The same is true for Australia and France, which have overall rankings of 13th and 27th, yet management rankings of 17th and 48th, respectively. Indeed, France’s survey score of 5.02, the UK’s 6.29 and Australia’s 6.75 in this section do not compare very favorably to the 8.0 picked up by Canada and 8.34 achieved by Switzerland. On this showing, therefore, it seems that management education providers in these countries have plenty of room for improvement in convincing employers that they are meeting the country’s business talent needs, both now and in the longer term.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in August 2016

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Written by

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).


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