The findings in the C-Suite Challenge™ 2018 result from a survey of over 1,000 business leaders about the top challenges facing their organizations in 2018 and the top concern of CEOs is attracting and retaining talent. With many economies doing very well, and the working-age population remaining stagnant, the war for talent could get even more competitive.  According to The Conference Board, "By 2019 labor market tightness could reach levels not seen for decades especially in the US, China, Japan, UK and several countries in Central and Eastern Europe. With the large generation of baby boomers continuing to leave the labor force in large numbers for 10-15 more years, labor shortages are likely to get worse before they get better, and may become a drag on growth if governments and employers are not able to accelerate their capacity to produce. "

CEOs are tuning into the most recent results of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI). Launched in 2013, the GTCI is an annual study ranking countries and major cities on their ability to attract, develop and retain talent. They look to the report to develop talent strategies and overcome talent gaps and mismatches as they seek to be more competitive in their quest for the best talent globally.

So, which places are growing the best talent? Who is creating talent environments that attract and retain critical employees that are the key ingredient to maintaining a competitive edge, to innovating and to growing profitably?

The top five countries:

  1. Switzerland
  2. Singapore
  3. USA
  4. Norway
  5. Sweden

The top five cities:

  1. Zurich
  2. Stockholm
  3. Oslo
  4. Copenhagen
  5. Helsinki

The GTCI considers six specific key areas (referred to as "pillars"): 

  1. Enable: reflects the extent to which the regulatory, market and business environments create a favorable climate for talent to develop and thrive
  2. Attract: reflects what companies are doing to attract competitive talent, primarily be removing barriers
  3. Grow: reflects what companies are doing to develop and grow competitive talent, primarily by educating and training
  4. Retain: reflects what companies are doing to retain competitive talent, primarily by focusing on the quality of life
  5. VT Skills: this aims to score the quality of talent in the location for vocational and technical skills (employment skills)
  6. GK Skills: this aims to score the quality of talent in the location for global knowledge skills (innovation and leadership skills)

The article points however to the challenge for all locations - diversity and inclusion. Alex Gray shares, “People do not just need to be different, they need to be fully involved and feel their voices are heard."  Further, the report admits that achieving diversity is not easy, and requires commitment. It might even disrupt social cohesion and make managing people more complex. "The fact is that, beyond all the bombast, diversity is hard, and no country or company has completely cracked it yet.”