2020 Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) released

  • Report finds that gap between high income, talent-rich nations and the rest of the world is widening; more than half of the population in the developing world lack basic digital skills
  • Switzerland tops this year's ranking, followed by the United States, its highest place yet, and Singapore in third place
  • AI talent is particularly scarce and unequally distributed across industries, sectors and nations 
  • Broad-based re-skilling is urgently needed to develop 'fusion skills' that enable humans and machines to effectively and efficiently interact in hybrid activities
  • The Adecco Group commits to reskill and upskill five million people around the world by 2030, led by General Assembly, the Group's skilling arm and global leader in future-skills education

Davos, Switzerland, Jan 22, 2020: A lack of digital skills is widening the gap between high-income nations and the rest of the world, according to research from the Adecco Group, the world's leading HR solutions company, in partnership with INSEAD and Google.

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) 2020, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, reveals that Switzerland continues to lead the world in talent competitiveness, having held the number one spot since the Index was launched in 2013, and the US moves from third place to second, pushing Singapore down one place compared to 2019.

Overall, high income countries dominate the top 25 and the index shows that these top ‘talent champions’ are accelerating further away from the rest of the world. This divide is being intensified by the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the associated digital skills gap that has emerged between industries, sectors and nations.

Acknowledging this skills mismatch and the importance of investing in human capital, the Adecco Group is committing to upskill and reskill 5 million people by 2030. The reskilling push will be led by the Group’s training and development arm, General Assembly, which specializes in equipping individuals and teams with today’s most in-demand digital skills including data science, coding and machine learning capabilities.

Commenting on the 2020 Index, the Adecco Group's Chief Executive Officer, Alain Dehaze said:

“ As machines and algorithms continue to affect a multiplicity of tasks and responsibilities and almost every job gets reinvented, having the right talent has never been more critical.

Today, robots and algorithms have traveled beyond the factory floor and are functioning at front of house, the back office and company headquarters. At all levels, workers need training to hone quintessential “human skills” - adaptability, social intelligence, communication, problem solving and leadership - that will complement technology.

This decade will be characterized by a re-skilling revolution with a focus on 'fusion skills' - enabling humans and machines to work in harmony in a hybrid model. With this in mind, the Adecco Group is committing to upskill and reskill five million people around the world by 2030 - equipping individuals with future skills that will enable them to thrive in the AI age. "

The theme of this year's GTCI report focuses on global talent in the age of AI. Notably, the report finds that more than half of the population in the developing world lack basic digital skills, and that the digital skills gap is only widening, with a few countries progressing quickly while most of the developing world lags behind.

New approaches are being tried and tested to find the optimum balance, where people and technology can successfully work side by side and thrive in the workplace of the future. As these new collaborations continue to be developed, global talent competitiveness is being redefined, with nations striving to position themselves as leaders of the AI revolution. While the digital skills gap is significant and continuing to expand, the report's analysis found that AI could provide significant opportunities for emerging markets to 'leapfrog'.

For example, the longitudinal analyses of talent competitiveness reveal that some developing countries such as China, Costa Rica and Malaysia possess the potential to become ‘talent champions’ in their respective regions. Meanwhile, other countries like Ghana and India have improved their capacity to enable, attract, grow and retain talent in recent years, earning them status as ‘talent movers’.

Looking at cities, New York tops the ranking this year, followed by London, Singapore, San Francisco and Boston. New York’s leading position can be attributed to its strong performance across four of the five pillars measured in the research, specifically in the “Enable”, “Attract”, “Grow” and “Global Knowledge Skills” categories.

Generally, cities with a proven ability for “future readiness” ranked highly, with activities in fields including AI, fintech and medtech, favoring the talent performance of the top five. Many cities are increasingly becoming testbeds for new AI based tools such as facial recognition, tele-surveillance and autonomous vehicles. The success of these vary across cities, but those that do well will emerge as AI hubs that have the talent pools to sustainably deploy global solutions.

This year, Canada ranks 13th among 132 countries – moving up two places on the table compared last year’s ranking of 15th among 125 countries.

GTCI also evaluates world’s top cities for their ability to attract, grow and retain talent. 

Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa made it to the table with the rankings of 12th, 29th, 30th and 52nd respectively among 155 cities.

Here’s a comparison between 2019 and 2020 for Canadian Cities:

City 2020 Ranking 2019 Ranking
Toronto 12 33
Montreal 29 24
Vancouver 30 N/A
Ottawa 52 29


  • Toronto moves up 21 places on the table which makes the 6ix top 15 in the world
  • Unlike 2019, Vancouver comes on the table in 2020 with the ranking of 30th
  • Montreal preserves its place in the top 30
  • Ottawa moves down significantly from 29 to 52nd place among 155 cities

GTCI 2020: the top 15 countries

  1. Switzerland
  2. United States
  3. Singapore
  4. Sweden
  5. Denmark
  6. Netherlands
  7. Finland
  8. Luxembourg
  9. Norway
  10. Australia
  11. Germany
  12. United Kingdom
  13. Canada
  14. Iceland
  15. Ireland

*Canada ranked 15th in 2019.

What is the purpose of GTCI?

Countries are competing globally to grow better talent; attract the talent they need; and retain those workers who contribute to competitiveness, innovation, and growth. Countries seek to put economic and social policies in place that will facilitate this. In such a context, governments, businesses, and various other stakeholders need quantitative instruments that can inform their decisions and can help them design and implement better policies in areas such as education, employment, and immigration, to name a few.  This is the purpose of the GTCI.

Want to learn more? Visit: https://gtcistudy.com.