Republic loses ground in terms of attracting and retaining tech talent
State slips to 21st place in prestigious IMD world talent ranking
Prof Patrick O’Shea, chair of the Irish Universities Association. The three categories covered in the rankings – appeal, investment and development, and readiness – assess how countries perform across a range of areas. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
The Republic is becoming less effective at developing, attracting and retaining talent, according to a prestigious study that ranks the State in 21st place out of 63 economies worldwide.
The news will come as a disappointment given the State had been on the rebound after falling from 8th to 20th spot in the IMD world talent ranking in 2015. Since then, it has slowly climbed back up the list, reaching 17th place in 2016 and rising again last year to 14th spot.
The study from global business school IMD draws on an in-depth survey of thousands of executives from 63 different countries, and more than two decades’ data from the IMD World Competitiveness Center.
Europe continues to dominate the rankings with nine out of the top 10 most competitive economies based on the continent. Switzerland and Denmark lead the rankings for the fifth year in a row, followed by Norway, Austria and the Netherlands. Canada, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg and Germany complete the top 10.
The three categories covered in the rankings – appeal, investment and development, and readiness – assess how countries perform across a wide range of areas. These include education, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.
The Republic showed a decline across all of the three categories measured, with a particularly poor showing in the investment and development section, where it ranked 42nd out of 63 economies. The State has been in freefall over the past few years in this particular subcategory, having dropping from 20th place to 33rd in 2015. Last year, it ranked 34th for investment and development.
Among some of the negative factors affecting Ireland’s ranking in investment and development were its spending on education, its low-level of apprenticeships, and its health infrastructure. Of particular concern was expenditure on education, where the country was ranked 55th out of the 63 countries.
The State performed best in the appeal category, ranking 11th overall and scoring strongly in terms of worker motivation, attracting and retaining talent, and foreign highly-skilled personnel.
However, it was among the worst performers in terms of personal income tax rate and the cost-of-living.
In the readiness category, the Republic came in 12 place, down from 10th a year earlier, with the State doing better on university education and finance skills, but poorly for knowledge of foreign languages.
Christos Cabolis, chief economist and head of operations at IMD, said the decline in the Irish ranking this year was due largely to a change of perception among senior executives.
“The executives are a little bit sceptical… one big element is Brexit and perceptions on how Ireland might deal with it,” said Mr Cabolis. He stressed that despite the drop in the rankings there was plenty of positives to be drawn from the findings for the Republic.