Bangladesh has slipped six notches in the latest Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), ranking to 124th position among 132 countries.
The country has been consistently ranking among the bottom 10 since the index was launched in 2013. Last year, Bangladesh was at 118th position among 125 countries.
The GTCI is an annual benchmarking report that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.
The 2020 edition has put emphasis on "Global Talent in the Age of Artificial Intelligence," following the path initially explored by the GTCI 2017 theme – Talent and Technology.
The report – jointly done by the INSEAD business school, The Adecco Group and Google – ranks countries by their ability to enable, attract, grow and retain talent. It also looks at vocational and technical skills and global knowledge skills.
This year the report was prepared on the basis of 70 variables, and covered 132 countries and 155 cities across all groups of income and levels of development.
The GTCI is an Input-Output model in the sense that it combines an assessment of what countries do to produce and acquire talent (Input), and the kind of skills that are available to them as a result (Output).
Bangladesh has declined in all the input criteria, which in turn led to the decline in the output of the index compared to that in the previous year. In providing vocational and technical skills, the country ranked 118th, dropping 2 notches from that in the 2019 report.
There was a massive fall in the global knowledge skills category, in which Bangladesh is now the 115th country, dropping 12 notches from the position in the previous GTCI.
High income countries hold top positions
The gap between the talent champions and the rest of the world is widening. Top-ranking positions in the GTCI continue to be held by high-income countries. The index reflects a high correlation between GDP per capita and index scores.
There was also a similar gap in the artificial intelligence (AI) criterion.
"AI talent is scarce and unequally distributed across industries, sectors, and nations. More than half of the population in the developing world lacks basic digital skills," said the report.
European countries continue to dominate the GTCI, holding 17 of the top 25 positions.
Switzerland maintains the number one spot, followed by the United States – the country's highest rank in the GTCI so far.
Singapore is the only Asian country to make it to the top 10 of the GTCI 2020, followed by Northern European countries such as Sweden (4th), Denmark (5th), Netherlands (6th) and Finland (7th).
At the other end of the scale, Yemen came in 132nd, below the African countries of Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi.
South & Central Asian comparison
Bangladesh is the lowest among the South Asian nations in the index. Last year, Bangladesh had ranked one notch above Nepal. But in the latest edition of the index, Nepal ranks 121st, two notches above Bangladesh.
Vocational and technical skills took Nepal ahead of Bangladesh.
India (72nd) is at the top in South Asia and second in Central and Southern Asia, followed by Sri Lanka (83rd). Bhutan ranked 92nd and Pakistan 106th in the index.
Kazakhstan, ranked 54th, is the only Central Asian country in the upper half of the GTCI 2020.
No Bangladeshi cities in the List
The role of cities continues to grow in importance on multiple fronts. This year, 155 cities were covered in the GTCI, an increase from 114 cities last year. However, no Bangladeshi cities have made it to the list, indicating a lack of available data.
Even Kolkata is in the list, but not Dhaka.
The GTCI covered seven cities of India (Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune, Gurugram, Delhi and Kolkata) and two cities of Pakistan (Lahore and Karachi). The Pakistani city Karachi is at the bottom of the index.
The top 10 cities include four American cities (New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles), three European cities (London, Paris, and Munich), and three Asian cities (Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo).
The report showed that massive re-skilling is required for the workforce at all levels to prepare them for the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). It also noted that acceptability by communities or societies is critical for sustainability when introducing AI to organisations.
"There is little question that AI is a game-changer in every industry and sector. At this critical juncture, the race for AI-capable and AI-compatible talent, and the quest to develop the skills required, will only intensify," said Bruno Lanvin, executive director of Global Indices at INSEAD, and co-editor of the report.
"As talent becomes increasingly fluid and mobile, some early AI adopters could leverage this to become more talent competitive, however there are also signs that the ubiquity of AI is amplifying current imbalances and inequalities," he added.