How about some good news for Good Friday? According to the consulting firm of Heidrick and Struggles, the United States ranks #1 in the world in the Global Talent Index. To explain what this means, I provide below H&S’s description of their work.

In early 2011 Heidrick & Struggles, in partnership with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), undertook a study to encapsulate the current state of global talent and its future configuration around the planet.

The resulting research, incorporating the data analysis of sixty countries, shows subtle shifts and changes as it measures global talent in 2011 and anticipates future realities in 2015. The Heidrick & Struggles Global Talent Index (GTI) uses quantitative and qualitative data to measure the economic indicators, cultural contexts, trends in education, foreign direct investment (FDI), mortality, health and market fluidity that will impact the ability of talent to thrive within these countries. All data was collected and prepared independently by the EIU.

As the global economy continues to recover, the demand for talent is projected to greatly outpace supply. The purpose of this analysis is to help organizations identify potential talent challenges as well as opportunities around the world.

You can click on their interactive map to look at more details of their findings as well as to see how other countries were ranked on the various indicators.

Global talent map

“Heidrick & Struggles International, Inc. (Nasdaq:HSII) is the leadership advisory firm providing senior-level executive search and leadership consulting services, including succession planning, executive assessment and development, talent retention management, transition consulting for newly appointed executives, and M&A human capital integration consulting.”

The study looked at a number of indicators such as:

Compulsory Education
University  Education
Quality of Labor Force
Talent Environment
Proclivity to attracting talent

When it came to Compulsory Education, they ranked the United States #8 with a score of 81.1 in 2011 and 81.3 in 2015.  Top ranked Belgium scored 87 and 89 respectively.

In assessing the quality of compulsory education, H&S looked at 11 variables that they believe impact the effectiveness of schooling:

  • duration of compulsory education
  • current education spending (% of GDP)
  • current education spending per pupil as a % of GDP per capita
  • secondary school enrollment ratio (%)
  • expected years of schooling
  • adult literacy rate
  • pupil/teacher ratio, primary
  • pupil/teacher ratio, lower secondary

I noticed that neither TIMMS nor PISA scores were listed as an indicator of education quality, nor even of talent outcomes.  Hmmmm.

In looking forward, H&S have ranked the United States  #1 in proclivity to attracting talent, leaping them from #3 in 2011 to #11 in 2015. Though they admit this was a harder indicator to rank due to cultural differences in the various countries, it would seem that, at least as far as leadership goes, companies will still be looking to the United States for talent.


Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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