KUALA LUMPUR: Against a backdrop of improving economic conditions, Malaysia will likely improve its position in the annual IMD World Talent Ranking next year in attracting foreign talent.
Professor Arturo Bris, who is the director of the Switzerland-based Institute for Management Development (IMD) business school, said the future also holds bright for Malaysia with the constant public investment in education.
This will boost the pool of domestic talent for Malaysia in the long-term.
“Compared to the top Asian scorers namely Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and China, Malaysia has invested more in public education,” Bris said.
In the latest IMD World Talent Ranking 2017 which assesses 63 countries’ capacity to attract and retain the talent their businesses need to thrive, Malaysia slipped seven places to 28th position.
Performance is assessed in terms of investment and development, appeal (attracting and retaining talent and motivation), and readiness (skills and education).
“In the talent factor of investment and development, Malaysia was ranked 19th, but the area of concern was in the area of appeal where Malaysia’s ranking dropped eight places to the 30th position.”
The slip in position was expected, he said, pointing to the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2017 where Malaysia dropped from 19th to 24th position.
A number of reasons including lower oil prices, lower exports to China and domestic political risks resulted in the negative perception in the survey earlier this year.
“We can however expect to see improvements in sentiment when we conduct our next indepth survey between January and April,” he said, in a telephone interview from Singapore.
The improving economic conditions will restore some of the appeal attractiveness.
“For this latest report, we are concerned with the brain drain score which has deteriorated as well as the weaker motivation level.”
According to the latest report released from Lausanne, Asian economies were strong but lagged behind Europe in attracting foreign talent.
Hong Kong and Singapore top the Asian rankings and lead in luring members of the skilled global workforce to the Asian region.
“Hong Kong and Singapore both compete fiercely for the best global foreign workers and do so with great success,” he said.
In Singapore, there are concerns about its future – the high level of indebtedness, the difficulty in supporting investment in education, and an increasing cost of life, all make attracting foreign talent to the city-state much more difficult.
Bris has recommended Malaysia to step up in its total public expenditure on education (percentage of GDP) like Taiwan where the allocation for education is now at 8 per cent of GDP.
The study draws on an in-depth survey of thousands of executives from 63 different economies, and more than two decades of historical data.