Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged to step up efforts to attract and nourish talent after Hong Kong’s latest ranking in a global talent report dropped.
The World Talent Ranking 2018 report, published on Monday by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD), ranked Hong Kong No. 18 among 63 economies, down six places from last year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The IMD produces the rankings based on the economic performance of participating countries in three main categories — investment and development, appeal and readiness. The three categories assess how countries perform in a wide range of areas, including education, apprenticeship, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.
In Asia, Hong Kong was second only to Singapore, which took the 13th place. However, the city’s ranking in terms of investment in and development for talent was down seven notches to No. 31. In terms of appeal, it was ranked down by three notches to No. 14, while its readiness was down to the 9th.
The IMD said in its report that while Hong Kong’s strengths are appealing to highly skilled professionals from overseas, enabling the city to sustain its top-tier talent pool, its gradual decline is worrying for the future, especially considering that public investment in education only accounts for 3.3 percent of the city’s GDP.
Switzerland topped the list for the fifth year in a row, followed by Denmark and Norway, with Canada, ranked No. 6, being the only non-European in the top 10 economies.
China came in 39th, up one notch from a year earlier, while the United States moved up four notches to clinch the 12th spot.
Professor Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center, who led the talent study, said countries with the highest rankings in talent competitiveness invest heavily in education and quality of life.
Commenting on the IMD report, lawmaker Charles Mok Nai-kwong, who represents the information technology functional constituency, accused the government of failing to meet the needs of emerging talents in the new economy.
He asked authorities to boost on-the-job training programs, enhance efforts in teaching by subject specialists, and boost public funding for the future.
Speaking to reporters before attending a regular Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, the chief executive said she is not too worried about Hong Kong’s drop in the talent rankings because there are a lot of factors that come into play in international rankings such as this.
Lam also said that since the IMD study could only capture the situation a year ago, it may not have reflected the extensive investment her government has made in education.
Still, the chief executive said the ranking has encouraged the government to do better in developing talent. She pledged to continue allocating more resources for the purpose and provide students with more opportunities to learn beyond the classroom so they can be more creative and innovative.
Aside from its worsened position in the World Talent Ranking, Hong Kong ranked second globally in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2018 and 11th in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2018.
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