Swiss top world talent ranking; Covid impact to come

Education a key success factor: students at the University of Zurich during autumn semester Keystone / Alexandra Wey

Switzerland has once again taken top spot on the IMD World Talent Ranking. The country’s high-quality education system is a contributing factor, the survey says.

This content was published on November 13, 2020 - 16:49

Denmark was second and Luxembourg third in the annual global rankingExternal link of the Lausanne-based IMD business school.

It is the 7th time that Switzerland has headed the list – every year since the survey started in 2014. The ranking scores countries for three factors: Investment & Development (to cultivate a domestic workforce); Readiness (quality of skills and competencies in the country); and Appeal (attracting foreign talent and retaining local talent).

“Switzerland balances a high-quality education system that earns top marks for those being channeled into university (#1) and for those embarking on apprenticeships (#1). The country is also attractive to foreign labour thanks to the high quality of life (#3) and remuneration (#1),” the IMD said in a statement.

However, it fell down slightly in the readiness factor due to a drop in science graduates, although it currently has enough science skills to draw on.

Overall, European economies took eight of the top ten spots in 2020.

External Content

Covid-19 effect

This year’s resultsExternal link - which use hard data from 2019 and survey answers from January to April 2020 -  underline the importance of education and mobility to foster and attract talent, and therefore throw into question the future of talent-dependent economies when the Covid-19 pandemic eases off,” the IMD noted.

Both mobility and education have been restricted due to current and past lockdowns as countries try to contain the virus.

Singapore, Australia, the United States and the UK all have a long history of attracting foreign students who stay in the workforce.

Switzerland too attracts many foreign students – although not all can stay on afterwards – and has a high expat population.

“But without the option of physical mobility, next year’s results could look quite different,” the IMD said.

Comments under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story