Beyond Singapore: Other talent magnets emerging in Asia

by HRD02 Feb 2016
Singapore has retained its rank as the second most talent-competitive country in the world, according to the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index.
The annual study, released last week, measures a nation's competitiveness based on the quality of talent that it can produce, attract and retain.
For the third straight year, Singapore ranked no.2 behind Switzerland. The city-state was the only Asian country in the top 10 of the index compiled by the business school Insead.
Singapore scored highly on its ability to attract and retain talent due to its openness to business and high quality of life. The study also listed down language and culture, opportunity, pay and lifestyle, management practices, and quality of educational opportunities as the reasons why countries like Singapore are talent magnets.
The study also said Singapore’s information and communications technology infrastructure is highly attractive to professionals, managers and executives especially those from high value-added service industries such as software engineering, precision manufacturing, banking and finance.
“It is highly plausible that Singapore will continue to attract talent in high value-added industries from its neighbouring countries given its proportionally higher emphasis in ensuring that the nation continues to be one of the best connected in ASEAN,” the study said.
Will neighbours eclipse Singapore?
The report noted that in recent years, Singapore’s attractiveness as a talent hub has faced strong competition from its neighbouring countries, which is expected to intensify. The city’s tightened immigration policies have also slowed down foreign workforce growth.
“The tightening of immigration policies and low economic growth in the context of a lacklustre global economy is a double whammy for Singapore’s talent attraction ambitions. Although Singapore will continue to remain an attractive location for talent, tighter immigration policies would mean that talent from the region are more likely also to explore migrating to other emerging economies in the region that offer similar career opportunities.”
Philippines and Indonesia have been seen as viable alternatives to Singapore due to their strong economic growth and career opportunities, according to the report. Malaysia, the second most attractive country in the region for talent, has seen an uptrend of skilled workers migrating from Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Other countries in the region that show strong potential as talent magnets are South Korea and Indonesia, which is perceived by business leaders as being attractive to high-skilled people.
China will join the group if it manages to lure back former emigrants with science and engineering skills, the report suggested.
“Competition will become fierce among such emerging talent hubs and those who aspire to join the group of attractive talent destinations,” it said.
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Why is Hong Kong more competitive than Singapore?
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