Ireland slips to 16th in world competitiveness rankings

US retains top position out of 61 economies, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore

Among Ireland’s challenges in 2015 were maintaining focus on cost competitiveness. Photograph: Thinkstock

Ireland has slipped down the league of competitive economies according to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook rankings.

The United States remains at the top of the ranking as a result of its strong business efficiency and financial sector, its innovation drive and the effectiveness of its infrastructure.

Ireland comes in 16th place in the overall list, one place below last year, but still ahead of New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom. Ireland also ranked better than France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Austria and Belgium.

Among Ireland’s challenges in 2015 identified by the Swiss business school were maintaining focus on cost competitiveness and public sector reform, strengthening competition for foreign direct investment, and investment in infrastructure.


IMD said Ireland was in 11th position in terms of competitiveness when ranked against countries with populations of fewer than 20 million people, versus 10th place last year.

Hong Kong and Singapore both moved up the rankings overtaking Switzerland, which dropped to fourth place. Canada, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Germany all remain in the top 10.

Pattern of decline

A pattern of decline was observed in Latin America, with Chile, Peru, Argentina and Venezuela all slipping down the rankings.

The World Competitiveness Yearbook is compiled annually by Swiss-based business school IMD and measures how well countries manage all their resources and competencies to facilitate long-term value creation. The overall rankings highlight one particular commonality among the best-ranking countries. Nine of the top 10 countries are also listed in the top 10 of the business-efficiency factor.

Prof Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Centre, said business efficiency requires greater productivity and the competitiveness of countries is greatly linked to the ability of enterprises to remain profitable over time.

“Increasing productivity remains a fundamental challenge for all countries,” he added.

Luxembourg experienced one of the largest gains in business efficiency (rising from 14th place to fourth), which contributed to its ascendency in the ranking from 11th place to sixth.