Sultanate strong in high value exports, political stability

Azlan Othman

Brunei Darussalam took the 38th spot in the 2020 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) and seventh place in the Eastern, Southeast Asia and Oceania category, in an annual report compiled by French business school INSEAD, Swiss HR company The Adecco Group and India’s Tata Communications.

The report was recently unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The rankings measured 132 economies in terms of their ability to attract, develop and incubate a talented workforce.

The Sultanate, classified among the high-income group, scored 52 out of 100.

Across Asean, Singapore was placed third, Malaysia 26th, the Philippines 46th, Indonesia 65th, Thailand 67th, Vietnam 96th, Laos 98th and Cambodia 117th.

The GTCI is an input-output model that considers what countries do to produce and acquire talent (input) and the kind of skills that are available to them as a result (output).

The input side concerns how countries enable, attract, grow and retain talent, while output involves vocational and technical (VT) skills and global knowledge (GK) skills.

Brunei Darussalam improved from last year in terms of global knowledge skills, but dropped five places in enabling it (at 33rd place compared to 28th last year) and attracting it (at 37th place this year and last year).

The Sultanate also slipped four places in growing it (at 24th place last year compared to 25th place this year) and also fell one place in vocational and technical category (24th place last year and 25th spot this year).

High value exports (4th spot globally), political stability (7th), migrant stock (13th), workforce with secondary education (14th), use of virtual social network (17th), government effectiveness (25th) and relevance of education system to the economy (29th place globally) are factors that boosted its competitiveness.

But the Sultanate also faces problems related to ease of finding skilled employees (at 103rd globally), competitiveness intensity (104th), collaboration with organisation (108th), investment in emerging talent (112th) and innovation output (116th), said the report. The seventh edition of the ranking continues to demonstrate that a country’s talent attraction goes almost hand-in-hand with its economic status, with high-income countries taking the lead.

Switzerland maintains its top position, followed by the United States and Singapore. Sweden is fourth, and Denmark rounds out the top five.

Last year, Brunei Darussalam ranked 36th out of 125 countries.

Yemen ranked the lowest, trailing Angola (131th), the Democratic Republic of Congo (130th) and Burundi (129th).

This year’s Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), focusses on artificial intelligence (AI) and talent competitiveness. Adapting to this new way of working is important for countries to grow their economies and stay globally competitive.

Over the past few years, an increasing number of countries have adopted AI strategies. To ensure that AI is a force for good, these strategies must be value-based and principle-led. From a labour market point of view, efforts should be geared to integrating rather than replacing the human factor.

Adaptive talent – those skills that are exclusively human like creativity, curiosity, enthusiasm, leadership, empathy and compassion – is what makes the difference in addressing complex problems and seizing distant opportunities.

The top 10 countries in this year’s rankings are high-income economies that perform well across both the input (ie market landscape, education) and output (ie employability, talent impact) pillars of the GTCI model.

Stability among the highest ranked nations continues, with slight shifts amongst the top 10 and the addition of a third non-European country, Australia (10), a leader in formal education and talent attraction.