Updated: Jan 22, 2019
The fifth Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), produced by INSEAD business school in collaboration with The ADDECCO Group and TATA Communications, was recently released. In the context of countries competing to grow better talent, attract the key talent they require and retain the talent that contributes most to competitiveness, innovation and growth, the index provides a quantitative measure to track factors impacting this competition. It does so by benchmarking countries in terms of employment, education, immigration and a wide range of other factors. The HR Think Tank uses the GTCI as a guide in its work to improve South Africa's talent competitiveness, and has aligned its focus areas to those in which South Africa performs poorly on the index.
The index aims to provide decision makers in public and private sectors with a tool to assess
factors affecting talent management and talent competitiveness. The index helps them to 1)
assess the effectiveness of talent-related policies and practices, 2) identify priorities for action in relevant areas and 3) inform international and local debate in this arena.
The index follows an ‘input’ – ‘output’ model. On the input side, it tracks indicators that measure a country’s capacity to attract, grow, retain and enable talent. There are two aspects
to attracting talent, the first is to draw in creative people from outside the country, and the
second to remove existing barriers to entry for the talent pool domestically. Growing talent
relates not only to traditional forms of education, but also to various forms of training, apprenticeships, on-going education, experience and growth opportunities. Perhaps the largest factor in retaining talent is quality of life. Talent is enabled through conducive regulatory, market business and labour environments.
On the output side, the index measures countries' vocational and technical skills (mid-level
technical or professional skills), as well as global knowledge skills (high-level skills that enable
creativity and problem solving in professional, managerial and leadership roles).
South Africa’s ranking on the index has climbed four places, from 67th in 2017 to 63rd this
year. This is despite a small decline in the country’s overall score out of 100 – from 42.75 to
This paper explores the overall trends in the index with a special focus on the causes
and implications of South Africa’s change in score and ranking.