The World Talent Ranking 2018, produced by Switzerland-based management school IMD, saw Australia rank 14th out of the 63 countries measured, with an overall score of 78.57. That marked an improvement of five places on 2017.
By contrast, Switzerland topped the ranking with an overall score of 100.00. That was followed by Denmark (91.97), Norway (86.37), Austria (86.10) and The Netherlands (85.25).
Of the English-speaking countries, Canada topped the list at number six with a score of 84.50, with the US two places ahead of Australia in 12th spot (79.22).
New Zealand, meanwhile, fell to 20th place (74.12), immediately followed by Ireland (73.93) and the UK in 23rd (72.63). South Africa came in 50th place (47.14).
Of the three measures used to rank countries, Australia ranked sixth in the world for readiness but 19th for appeal and 26th for investment and development.
“Since 2014, the Talent Ranking assesses how the 63 economies we study develop, attract and retain highly skilled professionals,” explained Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitive Center.
“Cultivating a skilled and educated workforce is crucial to strengthening competitiveness and achieving long-term prosperity, particularly in the current dynamic landscape where artificial intelligence, robotics and other new technologies constantly redefine the challenges that governments, businesses and society in general will have to face in the future.
“This year, the most successful countries in talent competitiveness are mainly European, mid-size economies. Moreover, these countries share high levels of investment in education and quality of life.”
The report noted that: “In the Pacific area, Australia (14th) and New Zealand (20th) confirm their role as talent-appealing hubs. Both countries show high levels of readiness in their talent pool and offer attractive quality of life for international professionals.”
Competitiveness has room to improve, not all bad
Earlier in the year, IMD released its World Competitiveness Ranking, which placed Australia 19th out of the 63 nations measured, in line with many similar countries.
While Australia ranked one place above the UK and three places higher than New Zealand, other similar countries fared much better.
The US topped the list, followed by Hong Kong, Singapore, The Netherlands and Switzerland. Rounding out the top 10 most competitive nations were Denmark, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Norway, Sweden and Canada.
However, Australia did far better than other advanced economies. For example, Japan ranked 25th, France 28th, Italy 42nd and South Africa 53rd.
The full ranking can be seen below.
2018 competitiveness ranking
2. Hong Kong SAR
4. The Netherlands
13. China (mainland)
23. New Zealand
27. South Korea
29. Czech Republic
39. Saudi Arabia
53. South Africa
55. Slovak Republic