Human Capital: Switzerland or Yemen?

What would you say to working in either Switzerland or Yemen? The choice wouldn’t take too long to ponder over I guess when it comes to providing a healthy environment in which factors that would lead to long-term economic success that might be taken into consideration.

Human Capital Index

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has compiled for the first time the Human Capital Index that has just been published today, ranking countries according to their use of the economic potential of the labor force in 122 different countries around the world. It has taken into consideration the well-being of workers according to such factors as Health and Wellness, Workforce and Employment as well as Environment and Education. Factors such as longevity and the age of retirement as well as access to education are considered as just some of the many means used to evaluate the ranking of countries in the world and how they use human capital in their economies.

According to the WEF, people must be in good health and have access to education in a good environment for them to work well. If they are not, then that particular resource is wasted and it is one of the most valuable resources a country has probably today. But, that alone is not enough for the human capital of a country to be put to good use: they must be employed in meaningful employment.

Talent Shortage

The WEF has analyzed populations in countries from the cradle to the grave to determine just how well that population is being invested in by the government and by enterprises in the economy and how much it is being put to its full advantage to act effectively by those economies. The need for such a study might stem from the growing need to face the Talent Shortage that is starting to show through in different economies in the world and that will worsen in coming years.

The WEF states in the report: “The key for the future of any country and any institution lies in the talent, skills and capabilities of its people. With talent shortages projected to become more severe in much of the developed and developing world, it will be imperative to turn our attention to how these shortages can be met in the short term and prevented in the long term”.

We might have increasing unemployment that is dragging us down in the Western world, but the WEF has shown that in the coming two decades we shall be facing a severe shortage of trained workers. Populations are ageing at the moment in our economies.

  • The US will need to find 25 million workers by 2030 if it wishes to maintain just the same (low) level of economic growth being experienced right now.
  • There will be shortages in areas of employment in the US as in other Western nations since young people are not choosing the employment that is and will be lacking in the future.
  • There will be a shortage of doctors and nurses, scientists and researchers as well as skilled workers such as plumbers and painters or decorators in the coming years.

But there are economies that are suffering from the opposite and that have youth bulges in the demographic make-up. They need to coordinate together. But, with the present economic climate it hardly seems possible as the global world retreats in on itself in coordinated protectionism and trade barriers.

Ranking for the HCI

Go to Yemen and your economic potential will be the worst according to the Human Capital Index. The best country to work in would be Switzerland, which is hardly surprising given that the World Economic Forum is based in Geneva, and anyhow, what do the bankers have to worry about and the jewelers if only that they might not make enough money today dabbling on the international markets or the price of gold might actually go up rather than down. It wouldn’t have taken a lot to imagine that a country like Yemen would be ranked at the bottom of the Human Capital Index.

As for some of the other countries:

  • Switzerland is number 1. According to the report, it scores particularly well across all areas involved in the index analysis, although it has the best Health and Wellness score out of all the 122 nations involved in the study.
  • Finland comes in in second place and it is primarily due to the fact that the education system is considered to be the best in terms of enabling workers to find employment afterwards as well as providing access to education. Gender differences in schools are narrowed or non-existent in comparison with other countries and the quality of teaching is one of the best in the world.
  • Singapore is in third place and it is the only Asian country that ranks in the top ten.
  • It’s no surprise either that Pakistan is ranked in 112th position, where according to the study a child only has about 70% of a chance to get to primary school.  Of those, only 35% will go on to secondary school. University will open its doors to just 8%. According to WEF, those are the statistics for boys. If we’re talking about girls, then Pakistan is even further down on the list.
  • As for the BRICS, China comes in at 43rd position.

    Human Capital in the BRICS

    Human Capital in the BRICS

  • Russia is 51st.
  • Brazil is 57th.
  • India in 78th position.
  • Finally, South Africa is in 86thplace.
  • The US only ranks in 16th place in the list perhaps to the surprise of some. As Obamacare creates immense difficulties for the US and the budget problems with the ensuing shutdown in government activities starting on October 1st 2013, it is because of the lack of access to reasonable healthcare that there is an impact on the ranking of the USA.

The report has never been produced before and the WEF hopes that it will bring about stronger collaboration between countries and an exchange of workforces around the world. But, that would be wishful thinking. The utopic idea that we shall one day all collaborate in a collective objective is not going to happen any time soon, is it?

According to Klaus Schwab, WEF Founder and Executive Chairman: “The key for the future of any country and any institution lies in the skills and talent of its people”.  One important thing to remember however is that that the wealth of capital that is to be found in the economic value of the workers is exploited in the majority of the countries that are mentioned (if not all of them) in the list by servitude and bondage to the state. We work, they reap the benefits and then we get the blame when it all goes wrong.

Should it be the other way round with governments that are in servile bondage to the people?

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