The Netherlands in top 10 of 2015 Human Capital Index
The index looks at the extent to which 124 countries are investing successfully in the education, skill levels and employment rates of their populations.
This year the Netherlands came in at eighth place overall in the report, representing a drop of four places since 2014.
The Human Capital Index
The index is based on the idea that cultivating talent, rather than amassing capital, is key for countries seeking to increase innovation, competitiveness, and long-term growth.
A key feature of its methodology is a "generational approach". By breaking a population down into five age groups, it is able to consider the different skill, knowledge and employment opportunities relevant to people at various stages of life.
It assesses how well countries are providing basic education to children under 15 years of age, but also whether young adults have access to higher education and skill development opportunities in the workplace.
For people aged between 25 and 55, a country should provide continued learning and career opportunities. Older members of the workforce, for their part, have unique needs concerning attainment and employment potential.
Finally, the report looks at how well a country provides health and personal development opportunities to seniors over 65.
The Netherlands’ strengths and weaknesses
The Netherlands made the top 10 this year due largely to its success in educating young people and supporting them as they begin their careers.
However, it struggles to integrate older members of the population into the labour force. A relatively high number of people just under retirement age - in the 55 to 64 age group - are unemployed.
Professor Henk Volberda of the Rotterdam School of Management told the Financieele Dagblad that the Netherlands needs to contribute to workers’ development beyond the very early phases of their careers.
Given the growing rate of technological progress, he argues, workers require continued support or risk their skills and knowledge becoming obsolete.
Trends in the Human Capital Index
In general, the researchers found that even nations with advanced economies have a long way to go when it comes to mobilizing their populations for economic growth.
The top spots on the index are held by countries in Europe, North America and Central Asia.
Countries in both the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern regions showed a wide range of scores, which often showed little correlation with GDP.
Sub-Saharan Africa fared the worst overall, with most countries in the region ranking lower than 100.
The 2015 Human Capital top 10