The Global Talent Competitive Index (GTCI), released by international graduate university Insead, gave Switzerland the top spot ahead of Singapore, the UK, the US and Sweden.
Now in its fourth edition, the GTCI measures how countries grow, attract and retain talent, providing a resource for decision-makers to develop strategies for boosting their talent competitiveness.
The top rated countries do this by having an education system that meets the needs of the economy, employment policies that favour flexibility, mobility and entrepreneurship and stakeholders who are well-connected in business and government, it said.
For the first time Insead also released a city index, with Zurich placing second behind Copenhagen in the ranking of the best cities for attracting talent.
Bruno Lanvin, who authored the new cities ranking, said: “Cities are emerging as global players on the talent competition scene.
“The initial GCTCI rankings show that although megacities such as San Francisco, Madrid or Paris are among the leaders, smaller cities such as Copenhagen, Zurich, Gothenburg, or Dublin are competitors to be reckoned with.
“They are cities where talents can find excellent career opportunities, good connectivity (broadband and transport) and a high quality of life for themselves and their families.”
Switzerland is regularly rated highly in competitiveness surveys.
Last year the IMD business school in Lausanne said the alpine country had the most competitive economy in Europe.
And business talents coming to Zurich in particular will find a city regularly ranked highly in standard of living surveys.
A 2016 report by US research firm, Glassdoor found the Swiss city had the best standard of living in Europe, even factoring in the high prices.