The UAE rose six places in a World Talent Ranking while Brexit was blamed for a decline in the UK’s position in the table measuring countries’ ability to train and recruit top professionals.
Researchers said uncertainties over Brexit appeared to have damaged the UK’s competitiveness after it came 23rd in the table, down seven places from 2016 when it voted to leave the EU.
The UAE was one place behind in 24th, moving up from 30th a year earlier in one of the biggest improvements in the 2020 rankings.
It came third out of 63 countries when measured by the skills of its workforce.
This was one of the three main categories in the rankings, along with investment in talent and appeal to overseas recruits.
Authors of the report by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre praised the UAE for the strength of its talent pool.
The UAE “performs strongly in various indicators including graduates in sciences, availability of skilled labour, availability of senior managers with significant international experience, availability of competent senior managers and inbound student mobility”, they said.
Switzerland topped the global table after winning high marks for its education system and quality of life.
Denmark was second overall and came first in rankings of motivation, fairness and employee training.
European countries took eight of the top 10 places, with Canada and Singapore landing the other two.
Researchers described the UK’s 23rd place as a mediocre ranking below EU nations such as Germany, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland.
“In 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, the UK was in 16th position in the same ranking,” they said.
“This year’s 23rd position is a likely reflection that uncertainties around Brexit have been chipping away at the UK’s talent competitiveness.”
The UK came 17th in the talent pool ranking, 20th in international appeal and 38th in development in its workforce.
Among other major economies, the United States came 15th in the table, Japan 38th and China 40th.
Authors said that countries should continue to seek overseas talent rather than turn inwards to revive their economies after the Covid pandemic.
They said that keeping workforces motivated in the age of social distancing and working from home was important to the overall strength of an economy.
“Talent competitiveness may be a fundamental component for economic recovery in a post-Covid era,” they said.
The World Economic Forum cited the report’s findings on Monday on the eve of a Jobs Reset Summit aimed at plotting a recovery from the pandemic.
More than 250 million full-time jobs were lost in 2020 along with $3.7 trillion in wages, the WEF said. The loss of jobs was four times greater than during the financial crisis of 2008-09.