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Europe – European countries top Human Capital Report

02 October 2013

The World Economic Forum’s Human Capital Report, released yesterday, seeks to provide a holistic and long term overview on how well countries are leveraging their human capital and establishing workforces that are prepared for the demands of competitive economies.

The report analyses what it calls the ‘Four Pillars’. These are broken down into Health & Wellness, Education, Workforce & Employment, and Enabling Environment. There are 51 indicators measured in total, which use data from different organisations; such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Among other things, the Education pillar analyses the access citizens have to education, the quality of the education provided, and the levels of attainment. Health & Wellbeing is measured by life expectancy, medical statistics, including levels of stress and depression. It also analyses access to healthcare and the provision of water and sanitation.

The Workforce & Employment pillar is analysed by labour force participation, unemployment, a country’s ability to attract and retain talent, and the provision of training. The final pillar, Enabling Environment, concentrates on aspects such as social mobility, a country’s legal framework, the number of internet users, and the quality of domestic transport.

The top ten countries are dominated by the European countries, with eight of the top ten spots occupied by countries from this region. Switzerland tops the rankings for the Human Capital Index, demonstrating consistently high scores across all four pillars, with top spots on Health and Wellness and Workforce and Employment, second place on Enabling Environment and fourth on Education.

Within the countries from Northern and Western Europe in the top ten, four Nordic countries, Finland (2nd), Sweden (5th), Norway (7th) and Denmark (9th) dominate. Finland’s exemplary Education and Enabling Environment scores put it at the top of the rankings for these two pillars and seven ranks ahead of the next highest–ranking Nordic country. The overall strength of the Nordic region lies in the Workforce and Employment pillar, with Finland, Norway and Sweden occupying three of the top six ranks. Denmark drops out of the top ten, to 12th position in this pillar and down to 11th position for the Enabling Environment pillar.

Singapore (3rd) is the only Asian country in the top ten due to very strong scores on the Education pillar, Workforce and Employment pillar and a strong fifth position on the Enabling Environment pillar.

The Netherlands (4th) is the third of the European countries in the top ten due to strong performances for Health and Wellness and for Enabling Environment. Germany (6th) just edges ahead of the Netherlands on the Enabling Environment rankings in third place but holds ninth position on the Workforce and Employment pillar. Germany’s relatively low place on the Education pillar (19th) pulls down the country’s overall score in the Index.

The United Kingdom (8th) performs well on Enabling Environment but has lower scores on Health and Wellness, holding 17th position. Canada (10th) is the first of the two North American countries in the Index and the only one in the top ten. Canada’s overall scores are greatly enhanced by its second position on the Education pillar. Its ranks for the remaining three pillars vary between 15th and 20th position. The US appears in 16th place with a particularly poor score on Health and Wellness (43rd).

The read the full report, please click here.

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