Friday, November 21, 2014

We're Number 16

The big news is that the World Talent Report 2014 from the Institute for Management Development (IMD)  has ranked Malaysia 5th position, while Singapore trails a distant 16. The IMD World Competitiveness Center which produces the annual ranking exercise says the objective serves to assess the ability of countries to develop, attract and retain talent to sustain the talent pool available for enterprises operating in the economies.

While the ranking is structured according to 1) investment and development, 2) appeal and 3) readiness, it goes without saying those foreign talents tempted by the glossy brochures will, sooner or later, discover the truth from the myth. Like Singapore is the safest place on earth, bar none. Except for the occasional stabbing in broad daylight at Raffles Place. You can trust the lawyers here too, just remember to do a back of the envelope check when it comes to invoicing.

We don't know why Neal Copeland and Nancy Jenkins, the husband and wife team of cancer experts who left the National Cancer Institute in the United States after 20 years there to join Singapore's Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) because of "generous funding", packed their bags again after a short 5 year stint to head back to Houston, Texas. Maybe they had a nasty experience at Sim Lim Square. Or were fleeced for seafood at Newton Circus. Not everybody has the deep pockets of a Brunei princess.

And then there are the untold legions of local talents who have left for greener pastures abroad. Lee Kuan Yew used to insist on a report of the number of emigrants, maybe someone else is still keeping score.

Somewhere in page 8 of the report, a chart shows that Singapore used to do a better job in attracting and retaining talent. We were number 2 in 2008. The explanatory note is worth reading:
The fluctuation in the overall ranking experienced by some of the countries throughout the period may be the result of cyclical economic and socio-political issues that impact, for example, immigration policies and/or investment in education. In some cases, such policies could result in the diminishing ability of countries to attract overseas talent despite strong commitment to local talent development.

We know some of those socio-political issues only too well. The list is long and nauseating, starting with a 30 year mortgage for a public housing flat. It's bad enough to have to stomach the likes of Anton Casey and Yin Yang, the politicians ramming the Population White Paper down our throats make mockery of a welcome home for real talent. It's not sustaining if talents are not retaining.


  1. Yes!!! Must be especially painful losing out to Malaysia (by a huge margin some more), a country known for its brain drain due to its bumi policy.

    /// And unlike countries such as Switzerland - which achieve a "positive balance" between investing and developing local talent, and the ability to attract and retain overseas talent - Singapore's results show a "fair degree of imbalance between the criteria covering the homegrown talent pipeline, and the ability of the country to attract overseas talent". ///

    And the saddest part is, the government might just be moved enough to address the neglect and deliberate suppression of local talent. They will only act when external sources paint a bad picture of Singapore.

  2. Dont hold your breath... they will quickly make statements that the IMD's rankings are flawed or they will cite another like BERI to negate the latest results. Entirely up to them to paint on a white canvas.... pure white.

  3. Nature has being extremely kind to both Malaysia and Singapore.

    Singapore develops furiously and has reaped almost all the benefits that it deserves.

    Malaysia possesses the best nature can provide and will be provided for a long long time to come. It is the most preferred place for retirees from around the World. Most of these retirees are not only well to do, these are folks with much wisdom that will naturally nurture those around imparting invaluable values.
    The Malaysian Leaders since independence were, are also wise in conserving all that nature endowed natural resources. They were and are in no hurry to harvest them. Depleting ones' resources is a most foolish deed; as stupid as exploiting the people and becomes hated. Malaysians did not fall prey to those aforementioned abuses.

    Not only foreign retirees will favour Malaysia for the abundant resources and peace. The almost natural disaster proof country has a living pace and cost the World envies.

    The Talents in Malaysia will grow under the auspices of the inflows of wise oldies from different corners of the World, the Wonderful Environment and best of all, the plentiful natural resources and the LOW COST OF LIVING AND COMFORTABLE PACE.


  4. It's Yang Yin, Tattler, not Yin Yang. Like this wretched 'foreign talent' everything in this little red dot seems to be upside down or reversed.

    1. Well, might be a deliberate pun by Tattler - the Yin & the Yang. Men in Black and Men in White. Either Black or White and nothing in between. You with me or you are against me.

  5. Bet your last dollar that they will come out and say that:
    a) we are different/unique; cannot compare;
    b) the profile of the interviewees were incorrect;
    c) highlight one or two aspects to show that we are still number one, like a drowning man clutching straws on the way down;
    d) quote one or two examples of the kind of people we have been able to attract but do not say that they are here for tax relief purposes from their respective countries;
    e) ad nauseum.

  6. Next year we will be excluded from the list so that Singaporeans wont know how much further we are going to fall from the list. Long Live the whities :(

  7. Singapore is ranked 150 out of 180 for Freedom of the Press by Reporters Without Borders, behind Malaysia. And we're number 1 by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as the most expensive city in the world, and number 1 by the EIU and the World Bank as the most business-friendly regulatory environment for the ninth straight year......

    Well done, Singapore, in matters that hurt or don't benefit the common man.

  8. what, lose to neighbour? A few Pee-asses would soon be assigned to a new task force to find a few more billions from taxpayers to retain talents. And find another minister in PMO (aka chiak liao bee) to coordinate (aka go on a round the world jolly/study trip) to learn about talent retention. Then just pay a consultant to do a "new study" to prove we are number one lor! QED.