KUALA LUMPUR,. Malaysia climbed six spots to 22nd place among 63 countries in the International Institute for Management Development’s (IMD) World Talent Ranking for this year, sitting above richer nations like the UK, France and Japan.
The ranking is based on countries’ performance 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, apprenticeships, workplace training, language skills, cost of living, quality of life, remuneration and tax rates.
For investment and development, Malaysia performed well in several aspects. It was ranked ninth for teacher-to-pupil ratio, sixth for apprenticeship and eighth for employee training.
It also fared well in terms of appeal. Under this category, the survey looked at criteria like cost of living, policies for attracting and retaining talent, brain drain and quality of life.
Malaysia’s relatively cheap living cost made it highly attractive, according to the survey, which ranked the country 10th in this aspect. It was also in the top 25 for talent retention. The report also described the country’s quality of life as “very high”.
As for readiness, gradings were based on the skill levels of a country’s workforce.
Malaysia was 11th in terms of talent availability, 15th for international work experience and in the top 30 on average for criteria related to the country’s education level and overall talent competitiveness.
IMD said Malaysia’s progress in the ranking is rooted in investments in education to develop its homegrown skilled workforce.
“In addition to improved perceptions about the quality of the talent pool available in the country,” the report said in its summary of the performance of Southern Asian nations.
Malaysia, however, remained relatively weak in terms of its performance in the Programmes for International Students Assessments or PISA, an evaluation of how good a country’s pupils are in maths, science and reading.
Western countries consider the three subjects to be the building blocks for technological and economic advancement.
Malaysia was ranked 41st among 63 countries.
Regional rival Singapore, on the other hand, maintained its position at the 13th spot, scoring well in all three main categories. But the expensive cost of living there has made it less attractive to talent.
The tiny island republic has consistently made it to the lists of the most expensive places to live in globally for several years now, mostly due to the exorbitant property market. It took 58th spot in this aspect.
Singapore was also ranked close to the bottom in terms of education funding, but that could be due to its already solid standing in the field. Its elite university, the National University of Singapore, is rated the best school in Asia.
In the report’s summary of the performance of South Asian nations, IMD said Singapore and Malaysia achieved the best placements in terms of talent competitiveness.
“Compared to last year, Singapore keeps the same position in the ranking and Malaysia moves up by six,” the report said.
Singapore continues to excel in appealing to professionals from abroad to sustain their top-tier talent pool but lags behind in terms of public investments in education, the report added.