KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 21 ― Malaysia has outperformed its regional competitors in harnessing and retaining local talent, a survey has found, beating countries like Hong Kong, Japan and neighbouring Singapore and Indonesia to place fifth out of the 60 countries surveyed.
According to the World Talent Report 2014 released yesterday by the Institute for Management Development (IMD), a leading Switzerland-based international business school, Malaysia has been steadily improving its overall ranking from the 20th spot in 2005 to the 6th spot in 2010, before continuing its rise this year.
Malaysia is also the only country from Asia to make the top 10 in the list, with Switzerland taking the lead, followed by other European or Scandinavian countries such as Denmark at second place, then Germany, Finland, Ireland, Netherlands, Canada, Sweden and Norway.
The other Asian countries that improved their position when compared against the 2005 rankings are Indonesia, which went up from 49th to the 25th spot, Japan which is now in the 28th spot instead of the 32nd spot, China Mainland which moved up five spots to place 43rd.
Asian countries that had a lower ranking compared to 2005 are Singapore at the 16th spot against the 10th spot, Hong Kong at 21st instead of 13th, Taiwan at 27th against 18th, Thailand which dropped from 25th to 34th, Korea’s slide from 35th to 40th and the Philippines at 41st instead of 38th, India at 48th instead of 29th.
The rankings are determined by three factors, including a country’s investment and development in home-grown talent as seen in the public funds poured into education and the education system’s quality.
Malaysia snagged the 11th spot for this factor, with IMD noting that the country’s total public spending on education per pupil had improved from 20.54 per cent in 2007 to 23.15 per cent to 2014, despite a shrinking of total public funding for education from 6.98 per cent in 2005 to 5.80 per cent this year.
Malaysia’s pupil-teacher ratio for primary and secondary schools has also improved, the survey found, apart from the presence of more females in the labour force and more apprenticeship programmes.
For the second factor of appeal, Malaysia placed fifth among all 60 countries for its ability to keep local talent and attract talent from overseas.
According to IMD’s report, the level of worker motivation in companies and the brain drain indicator have both improved in Malaysia, while the third largest economy in South East Asia’s ability to attract foreign highly skilled individuals went up together with the quality of life indicator.
Noting a worrying trend in the country’s talent leak, the Malaysian government set up TalentCorp several years ago, with the aim of reversing brain drain and attracting local talents residing overseas to return and work here.
Besides offering incentives to returning Malaysians, TalentCorp also helps facilitate foreign talent through renewable 10-year residential passes to highly skilled expatriates and helping companies tap into top foreign graduates here.
According to the IMD survey, Malaysia placed seventh in its readiness or ability to supply market demands with the available talent pool here.
The survey noted an increase across the board in several indicators, including increase in skilled labour and better senior management.
The ability of Malaysia’s education system to churn out talents that meet the requirements of companies has also improved, while the scores for language skills improved and with the number of schools placing emphasis on science increased.