How does India and her cities compare when it comes to the ability to develop, attract and retain talent? Not very well, if we go by the Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI), an annual benchmarking tool developed in 2013 by INSEAD, in partnership with the Adecco Group and Google. The GTCI 2020 was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
The index, which includes 70 variables and covers 132 countries, ranks India at no. 72. Switzerland, the United States and Singapore lead the index.
The pecking order underlines the domination of high income countries - the top 25 in the list are all high income countries, 17 of them from Europe. India fares poorly even when compared to two BRIC nations. China ranks at No. 42 while Russia is at 48. India does better than Brazil, which ranks 80 in the index.
"The gap between talent champions (almost all of them high-income countries) and the rest of the world is widening. A similar gap is also seen in the universe of artificial intelligence. 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. In the age of AI, this digital skills divide is broadening, with a few countries progressing quickly while most of the developing world is lagging. AI policies and programmes should work to minimise negative outcomes and increase access to AI for those left behind," the report states.
It added that AI could provide significant opportunities for emerging markets to leapfrog. "The GTCI's longitudinal analyses highlight that some developing countries (e.g., China, Costa Rica, and Malaysia) can become talent champions in their respective regions, while others (e.g., Ghana and India) have significantly improved their capacity to enable, attract, grow, and retain talent over the past few years, and hence can be labelled talent movers. As India did in the late 1990s (becoming a global off-shoring base for IT services), AI may provide opportunities for other countries/regions (e.g., Latin America) to become 'global delivery centres' for AI applications," the report stated.
The GTCI had another important message: The need for up-skilling in the age of automation. "The emergence of AI in the workplace requires a massive re-skilling of the workforce. At all levels of qualifications, workers will need training on adaptability, social intelligence, communication, and problem-solving. Life-long learning will increasingly play a key role in developing skills to foster empathy, creativity, imagination, judgement, and leadership, which are likely to continue to be human-only activities. Re-skilling will also be necessary to develop fusion skills in order to allow humans and machines to effectively and efficiently interact in hybrid activities," it said.