gtci-mediaGlobal Talent Competitiveness Index was published about two weeks ago. Though I was not able to accept the invitation to the launch event in Singapore on January 26, I reviewed the report and in particular, this year’s theme of “Talent Attraction and International Mobility.” My interest in this theme is due to two factors. 1) correlation between talent mobility and economic prosperity found in many parts of the world 2) Japan’s lack of awareness and actions to deal with attracting talent from the world and mobility.
IMG_8628 As the world is grappling with refugees and migration today,  how to deal with talent mobility has become even more important and critical. It is even more significant in the Asian region. (I have attended the Round table on the mobility in ASEAN twice last year.)

Talent Global Competitiveness Index looks at the country on four pillars of Input, namely, Enable, Attract, Grow and Retain, and two pillars of Output- Labor and Vocational (LV) skills and Global Knowledge (GK) skills. Each pillar consists of detailed items.(photo on the left)
So where does Japan stand in Talent Global Competitiveness Index? Japan is ranked as #19 in overall performance (out of 109).  Its ranking for “Enable” pillar is 4, while “Attract” pillar is 45.  “Grow” is ranked #26 and “Retain” is 16.  For the output side, LV skills of Japan is ranked 13 and GK skills 21.

The challenge for Japan is low score of “Attract”, which consists of External Openness(42)  and Internal Openness(53).  I recall the first report published over 2 years IMG_8626ago indicated the same issue for Japan, so not much progress has been made. (See profile of Japan on the left.)  My concern is that the increasing importance of mobility makes Japan at further disadvantage today.
As globalization and technological transformation continues, how should we deal with this issue? I have argued for more openness (both externally and internally) in the past on several occasions.  My belief in opening the country on both fronts has become even stronger.  I see many people who have become aware of their own potential by being exposed to the outer world and have begun the journey of designing their own career and lifestyle.  At the same time, I still see people who are so “closed” in their own organization, not to mention the country, and believe their way is the only way.

I believe by inviting talented people, the positive competition will be enhanced and the Japanese youth will be encouraged to develop their own skills. By opening up, the Japanese will be able to work anywhere in the world and we can contribute to the world.  What are we afraid of?  Transformation always comes with some loss.  It seems many Japanese are so afraid of “losing” something, and not able to make a step forward.  Without losing something, i.e. change, we can NOT gain something new.  Are we ready to make a departure?  You can access the report here.