Netherlands ranks 6th globally in talent competitiveness

A new global survey into the systems and cultures support the development of talent competitiveness has rated the Netherlands as the sixth most competitive.

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2013 was developed to complement other indices published by the same organisations: the Global Innovation Index (in which the Netherlands was ranked fourth) and the Global Information Technology Index.

This index was developed to examine the human factor in a countries' competitiveness and innovativeness, citing it as the most critical resource for national economies to improve in a sustainable way.

The survey ranked 103 countries worldwide, putting Switzerland in first place, followed by Singapore and Denmark.

The index is published by international business school INSEAD, the Human Capital Leadership Institute in Singapore and American recruiting company Adecco Group.  

Measuring talent competitiveness

The index uses four pillars to describe the policies, resources and efforts that countries can harness to foster its talent competitiveness. The first pillar measures the extent to which the political and economic environment create a favourable climate for talent to develop and thrive.

Three further pillars focus on what countries are doing to attract, grow and retain talent. The last two pillars measure the talent that has resulted, measuring their labour and vocational skills and their global knowledge.

Competitiveness in the Netherlands

The Netherlands' overall rank of six results from what the reports calls a contrasted performance: that what it puts into its talent rates higher than how the talent performs.

It commented that the scores for the Dutch regulatory, market and business landscapes were not remarkable, while it singled out the very low score for labour market flexibility.

The authors said, however, that these were largely compensated for by high scores for attracting, growing and retaining talent. 

Global Talent Competitiveness Index

1.   Switzerland
2.   Singapore
3.   Denmark
4.   Sweden
5.   Luxembourg
6.   Netherlands
7.   United Kingdom
8.   Finland
9.   United States
10.  Iceland

One example of this is the release earlier this year of the Dutch government’s plans to make the Netherlands more attractive for foreign talent.

They also commented that the labour and vocational scores were slightly stronger than the ones for global knowledge.

Secrets to talent competitiveness

The authors found that there were three distinct types in the leading countries. One is those who employ a strategy that emphasises drawing in talent, which includes the Netherlands, founded on a strong education system.

Second is large industrial countries like the US, Canada and Australia that have always used immigration to attract talent. Third is those emerging countries that focus on skills that their neighbours lack and develop human capital that is in particular demand.

Global gaps

The authors noted that the top countries are all wealthy, able to nurture both knowledge and skills. The gap is widest on global knowledge skills, where rich countries are well set-up with universities and institutes that spur innovation and take time to build.

The GTCI also shows that poor countries may struggle to keep the skilled workers they have developed, while rich countries are far more able to retain the talent they have nurtured and attracted.

For more information, read the full report.

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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