Switzerland still the world’s biggest magnet for skilled workers

Lucerne, Switzerland. Image: Depositphotos
Switzerland has kept top spot as the greatest talent magnet in the world, although a number of other European countries are catching up.

Switzerland has retained top spot in the IMD Business School’s World Talent Rankings

The rankings, compiled annually by the Lucerne-based school, take into account investment and development, readiness and appeal when considering each country’s status as a talent magnet. 

After Switzerland, Denmark is in second spot – with the two maintaining their dominance at the top of the world rankings for the seventh year in a row. 

Sweden rounds out the trifecta, having jumped up five spots from last year’s rankings. 

Switzerland’s high placing comes from its dominance in the three major factors – in each of the three, Switzerland ranks first or second. 

In particular, the IMD recognises the excellence of Switzerland’s manager and apprentice training, alongside its pool of highly qualified expats and strong salaries. 

Cost of living a major barrier

It was not all rosy news for Switzerland however, particularly when it came to costs of living. 

Of the 63 countries considered in the survey, only five were more expensive than the Central European nation. 

While Switzerland’s high wages make it an attractive destination for skilled workers, much of the benefits of the higher wages – and thereby the attractiveness of the country as a professional destination – can be eroded by high living costs. 

The authors of the report have warned that countries at the top are in danger of being complacent and losing their first spot. 

How to make it to the top

According to the authors of the report, those who have performed better this year have done so through improving investment in education and prioritising talent attraction and retention in the private sector. 

“Most leading economies emphasise long-term talent development by focusing on investment and development,” said Arturo Bris, Director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre. 

“This emphasis, however, goes beyond purely academic aspects to encompass the effective implementation of apprenticeships and employee training.

“Such an approach ensures a consistent alignment between talent demand and supply,”

Top 10 (last year’s ranking)

1. Switzerland (1)

2. Denmark (2)

3. Sweden (8)

4. Austria (4)

5. Luxembourg (9)

6. Norway (3)

7. Iceland (16)

8. Finland (7)

9. Netherlands (5)

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10. Singapore (13)

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