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Spotlight 11: Riding the waves but not making any progress

South Africa's Talent Competitiveness 2013-19

By Paul Evans, Shell Chaired Professor of Human Resources & Organisational

Development, Emeritus, INSEAD (Fontainebleau & Singapore)

Founding academic director of INSEAD’s GTCI; GTCI Ambassador

One of the major observations in the recent 2019 report of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), presented at Davos on 21 January, is that the gap on talent competitiveness between prosperous countries and middle-lower income countries is widening.

Launched in 2013, the GTCI now allows analysis of trends over time. Over these years, the top ten countries in the world (Switzerland, Singapore, the US and all the Nordic countries) have maintained their rankings with limited change. In absolute terms, they have strengthened their talent capabilities substantially as they tackle the massive challenges of

transition to a digital society where AI and robotics are transforming work, careers and life.Meanwhile many emerging countries have slipped in the ranking and in absolute figures – notably Brazil which fell from rank #51 to #62 over these six years. Also South Africa, falling from 63 to 71 out of 125 countries this last year, and declining sixteen places from 55 over six years.

Download the full paper here.


The HR Think Tank works to improve South Africa’s talent competitiveness through targeted research and interventions in key areas. It aims to ultimately shift the country’s trajectory by pursuing the conditions for people to reach their potential in the world of work. Members help to shape and influence policy and the broader challenges facing HR and labour.

Member organisations include: AIIM, Anglo American, Auditor General SA, British American Tobacco South Africa, De Beers, Exxaro, Hyundai Automotive South Africa, Imperial Holdings, Institute for People Management, JvR, Liberty, Medshield Medical Scheme, MTN Group, Old Mutual Insure, Pearson, Pepsico, Pick n Pay, Sanlam, Sasol, SA Medical Research Council, St Peter's Schools, St Stithians College,Sun International, Tiger Brands, The Banking Association SA, University of Johannesburg, University of Stellenbosch, Unitrans, Woolworths Financial Services, Vaal University of Technology and more...

For more information on becoming a member click here.

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