Malaysia’s investments in its home-grown employees are starting to pay off, as the country is now ranked in a better position than Singapore to retain local talent, as well as attract talent from overseas, according to one study.
These indicators of how well a country’s local talent meets its corporate needs have been developed by IMD, which has just released its World Talent Report, with Switzerland topping the ranking.
Europe dominates the top of the charts, with Switzerland followed by Denmark, Germany, and Finland. In fifth place is Malaysia – the only Asian country to feature within the top 10.
The ranking assesses a country’s ability to develop, attract, and retain talent for companies that operate there. It is reflective of three factors:
- Investment and development in home-grown talent (for example, public investment in education)
- Appeal (how well the country retains home-grown talent and attracts talent from overseas)
- Readiness (a country’s ability to fulfil market demands with its available talent pool).
The report attributes Malaysia’s strong performance to slow and steady improvements made by the country’s labour and education systems.
Among the former attribute, one of the areas of improvement is its score on employee training, which has moved up from 6.17 in 2005 to 7.71 in 2014. The report also noted a rise in the availability of skilled labour, as well as in the access to competent senior managers.
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In addition, the study found an enhancement in the ability of the country’s educational institutions to meet the talent requirement of the market. The educational system indicator rose from 5.54 to 6.86, as did the university education criterion.
It also marked an improvement in language skills. Earlier this year, a new government policy was announced, requiring Malaysian university students to first pass an English language paper before being granted their degree.
In terms of appeal, the study found an improvement in the level of worker motivation from 6.08 in 2005 to 7.68 in 2014. Brain drain, which leads to a country losing out on its local talent, was another area where the country showed improvement.
In addition to being able to retain its local workers, it was also able to foreign highly skilled people, up from 6.42 in 2005 to 7.24 in 2014.
“The Malaysian example shows that a strategy aimed at improving both the home-grown and overseas talent has a positive impact on the country’s performance in the overall talent ranking,” said the study.
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On the other hand, Singapore has dropped out of the top 10, slipping to 16th place in 2014. The reasons for this appear to be low scores in investment and development, even as the cost of living is high, “suggesting that Singapore currently has a large pool of talent that it has nurtured and attracted, but that this pool may shrink slightly in the future.”
It goes on to explain there may be a fair degree of imbalance between the criteria covering the home-grown talent pipeline and the ability of the country to attract overseas talent.