Which of the world’s regions are the places to look to for top talent now and which are showing promise for the future? From Europe to Oceania, this is how the regions performed in Our Global Talent Competitive Index 2020 and how workforces may change in years to come.

Computers, robots and automation are changing the world of work. While some regions in the world are likely to benefit from these latest developments, others risk falling behind.

Our most recent research into human capital across the globe shows a widening divide between rich and poor regions, with the workforce in the world’s wealthiest areas outperforming those in poorer areas for talent.

The majority of high-performing countries included in the Index belong to two regions: North America and Europe.

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In fact, almost all the Top 20 countries in the GCTI ranking were from Europe, which came second to North America in our study. Eastern, Southeastern Asia and Oceania ranked third, largely down to the contributions of Singapore, with a workforce that excels in computer science, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

These three most talented regions have made some advances in how they grow, attract and retain workers. All have improved their average score from the last period (2015 – 2017).

Low-income regions fall behind

As these major economies steam ahead, the gap between the best and worst-performing areas of the world is widening. Central and Southern Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern Asia and Western Africa have all seen their human capital decline in value since the last Index. Even though data on the digital skills in these regions is hard to source, it appears that these poorer areas are not as well-equipped for the digital age as their high-income neighbours.

The quality of education and opportunity for workers to grow and learn was a particular problem in Northern Africa and Western Asia.

Photo by Ovinuchi Ejiohuo on Unsplash

Opportunities nevertheless remain. AI will soon touch all sectors of work, having an impact on both white and blue-collar jobs. Research estimates that in the US alone, around 47% of jobs are at risk of being replaced by automation in the next 10 to 15 years.

Labour markets are set to change rapidly and if regions are not preparing their workforces for the future, then they risk squandering a chance to strengthen their economies.

Europe needs to fill IT skills gap

Although in second position in our Index, Europe’s place in the world of talent is not set in stone. At present, being in Europe’s workforce is a decent place to be as the quality of life is good and the education sufficient.

But as the digital age progresses and the need for more technology-based roles increases, things could turn. Despite the region still attracting people to enter the workforce, there are currently hundreds of thousands of vacancies in the IT sector in Europe that cannot be filled. Europe also lacks AI-specialised higher education programmes, which needs to be rectified if the continent is serious about filling the worsening skills gap.

Latin America – the next big AI talent pool?

If the correct labour and education policies are implemented in Latin America over the next few years, it could leap up the talent Index. Our research suggests the Age of AI could make or break the region.

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Mexico was one of the first nations in the world to develop an AI strategy which focused on the social impacts of the technology, such as using programmes and algorithms to combat corruption, reduce crime and improve public health.

Chile stands out as one of the more consistent performers in the GTCI and has started making some promising investments. In 2010 the Chilean government created a start-up accelerator that supports entrepreneurs and their tech needs. Businesses receive mentoring, workshops, co-working office space, and access to investors. In return, they are asked to give something back to local society, such as taking part in hackathons or giving talks at universities.

Initiatives like these hint at the region’s potential to become the next AI talent pool. Businesses and governments there are starting to prepare for the Future of Work and thinking more strategically about their place in the world.

However, even though the larger economies in the area are showing AI readiness, only a small number of businesses in Latin America are storing data digitally. There are also still large parts of the region with limited or no internet access.

In the areas that are digitally savvy, Central and Latin America risk losing homegrown talent to Northern American tech companies like Google and Amazon who have already started to recruit and relocate talent out of Latin America with the right skills.

One of the biggest problems that Central and Latin America needs to solve in order to become the next AI hub is retaining its skilled talent and entrepreneurs.

The age of AI poses challenges that countries and regions will have to address head-on. But above all, the technological revolution is about opportunities and governments and companies ready to invest in skills will see the greatest growth.

Read more

The Countries To Watch For Emerging Talent In The AI Age

Investment In Skills Is Key For Success In The Age Of AI


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