By: Dr. Jordi Robert-Ribes

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index (GTCI) report is an annual study that encapsulates countries around the world and focuses on how talent growth improves country competitiveness. The latest 2014 GTCI report reveals how the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranks as competitive in terms of talent on a global scale. By analysing UAE’s position now, we can forecast developments in the country.

UAE Rating in the 2014 GTCI Report

The UAE has an overall strong ranking. The report rates the UAE as second in its regional group and 22nd worldwide (out of 93). While its overall rank is below countries such as Switzerland, the US, and Sweden, the UAE is above France, Spain, and South Korea.

According to the 2014 global report’s findings, “talent can be grown internally or externally, depending on the characteristics of the economy” (p. 28). While one country may focus on cultivating talent within its borders, another country looks to bring in talent from outside or educate its talented people abroad. The best approach to use depends on the characteristics of the country in question.

For UAE, the focus is on attracting talented expatriates, as well as top educational institutions to the oil-rich region. This strategy of growing talent capabilities is effective for the UAE, as per the 2014 Global Talent Competitiveness Index report findings. The UAE ranks first, alongside four other countries, in openness to international students (p. 29). In addition to “external openness,” the UAE also ranks highly on other “attract” factors, which includes “internal openness.”

On the Future of the UAE’s Competitiveness in Talent

Looking ahead, the Dubai Expo2020 is certain to attract even more talent to the region. What will Dubai do to retain that talent? Several studies show that personal and professional relationships are key to retention of a talent pool to maintain competitiveness on a global level.

The UAE has several positive qualities that bode well for it, helping strengthen those relationships. For example, the GTCI report ranks the UAE first worldwide in “safety at night” and second place globally on “state of cluster development,” and “labour productivity per employee.”

Also, while many countries face “severe gaps” in talent between demand for certain skills and candidates available, as pointed out by the CTCI report, the UAE has a considerably smaller gap than does the US or China. The UAE is in an admirable spot because it primarily has a young workforce. It, therefore, is in a good position to bridge such a gap.

Conclusions formed from the 2014 Global Talent Competitiveness Index report illustrate that the UAE is overall competitive in talent on a global scale and will continue to improve in this respect.


Dr. Jordi Robert-Ribes inspires professional connections. He founded Connecting Perspectives to enable effective collaboration within companies. His vision has allowed him to work in various disciplines in different countries worldwide.

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