Switzerland remains the most attractive country for skilled workers

Switzerland’s leading the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2020 ranking

  • For the seventh time in a row, Switzerland has taken 1st place in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index
  • A lack of digital skills is widening the gap between high-income nations and the rest of the world
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) talent is particularly scarce and unequally distributed across industries, sectors and nations
  • Broad-based re-skilling is urgently needed to develop ‘fusion skills’ that enable humans and machines to effectively and efficiently interact in hybrid activities
  • The Adecco Group commits to reskill and upskill five million people around the world by 2030, led by General Assembly, the Group’s skilling arm and global leader in future-skills education

Davos, Switzerland, 22nd January 2020. The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2020, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, reveals that Switzerland continues to lead the world in talent competitiveness, having held the number one spot since the Index was launched in 2013, and the US moves from third place to second, pushing Singapore down one place compared to 2019. For the seventh time since the ranking was first conducted in 2013, Switzerland has made it to first place.

The three main reasons for Switzerland’s top position
       1. Switzerland has a high quality of life

Switzerland offers interesting jobs, high salaries and good career opportunities, thus demonstrating a high quality of life. This makes it possible for the country to retain skilled workers.
       2. Switzerland has good education and vocational training: its strength is its dual system

A dual education system, combining education with vocational training, is one of Switzerland’s great strengths. With its high level of formal education, which promotes professional and technical skills, and excellent opportunities for further education and development, Switzerland performs very well when compared internationally.
       3. Switzerland has a good legal and economic framework

Switzerland has an effective legal system and a brilliant market environment. Thanks to these positive framework conditions, Switzerland ranks second in the “Enable” section measured by the study.

Switzerland’s strengths and weaknesses
Switzerland performs very well when it comes to lifelong learning and sustainability. Switzerland also offers individuals the opportunity to complete training and pursue a career regardless of their economic status (ranking 2nd place in Social Mobility). However, Switzerland did poorly in terms of internal openness, i.e. the social integration of minorities (coming in 16th place in the “Internal Openness” section). When compared on an international level, Switzerland also scores very poorly in the Gender Equality section: Switzerland is in 91st place for “Female Graduates”, i.e. the proportion of female graduates whose highest level of education is in a tertiary education category. Statistics show that women in Switzerland are better educated than men at a young age, but that they ultimately lose a lot of ground when it comes to further education. “Swiss women generally choose to reduce their working hours considerably and so correspondingly invest less into their own further training,” comments Nicole Burth, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland. Switzerland also performs below average (coming in at 37th) in terms of gender-specific differences in health, knowledge and income (the “gender development gap” as it is otherwise known).
Digital skills gap growing
Overall, high income countries dominate the top 25 and the index shows that these top ‘talent champions’ are accelerating further away from the rest of the world. This divide is being intensified by the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the associated digital skills gap that has emerged between industries, sectors and nations. Acknowledging this skills mismatch and the importance of investing in human capital, the Adecco Group is committing to upskill and reskill 5 million people by 2030. The reskilling push will be led by the Group’s training and development arm, General Assembly, which specializes in equipping individuals and teams with today’s most in-demand digital skills including data science, coding and machine learning capabilities.
Man-machine balancing act
Commenting on the 2020 Index, the Adecco Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Alain Dehaze said: “As machines and algorithms continue to affect a multiplicity of tasks and responsibilities and almost every job gets reinvented, having the right talent has never been more critical.
Today, robots and algorithms have travelled beyond the factory floor and are functioning at front of house, the back office and company headquarters. At all levels, workers need training to hone quintessential “human skills” – adaptability, social intelligence, communication, problem solving and leadership – that will complement technology. This decade will be characterized by a re-skilling revolution with a focus on ‘fusion skills’ – enabling humans and machines to work in harmony in a hybrid model. With this in mind, the Adecco Group is committing to upskill and reskill five million people around the world by 2030 – equipping individuals with future skills that will enable them to thrive in the AI age.” The theme of this year’s GTCI report focuses on global talent in the age of AI. Notably, the report finds that more than half of the population in the developing world lack basic digital skills, and that the digital skills gap is only widening, with a few countries progressing quickly while most of the developing world lags behind.
Artificial intelligence: an opportunity for developing countries
New approaches are being tried and tested to find the optimum balance, where people and technology can successfully work side by side and thrive in the workplace of the future. As these new collaborations continue to be developed, global talent competitiveness is being redefined, with nations striving to position themselves as leaders of the AI revolution. While the digital skills gap is significant and continuing to expand, the report’s analysis found that AI could provide significant opportunities for emerging markets to ‘leapfrog’.
> For example, the longitudinal analyses of talent competitiveness reveal that some developing countries such as China, Costa Rica and Malaysia possess the potential to become ‘talent champions’ in their respective regions. Meanwhile, other countries like Ghana and India have improved their capacity to enable, attract, grow and retain talent in recent years, earning them status as ‘talent movers’.
The viability of the future is decisive for city ranking
Looking at cities, New York tops the ranking this year, followed by London, Singapore, San Francisco and Boston. Zurich is ranked 17th. New York’s leading position can be attributed to its strong performance across four of the five pillars measured in the research, specifically in the “Enable”, “Attract”, “Grow” and “Global Knowledge Skills” categories. Generally, cities with a proven ability for “future readiness” ranked highly, with activities in fields including AI, fintech and medtech, favouring the talent performance of the top five. Many cities are increasingly becoming testbeds for new AI based tools such as facial recognition, tele-surveillance and autonomous vehicles. The success of these vary across cities, but those that do well will emerge as AI hubs that have the talent pools to sustainably deploy global solutions.

“Swiss women generally choose to reduce their working hours considerably and so correspondingly invest less into their own further training,” comments Nicole Burth, CEO of the Adecco Group Switzerland.