Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Talent, not capital, will be the key factor linking innovation, competitiveness and growth in the 21st century. More than a third of employers globally reported facing difficulties in finding talent last year and nearly half expected talent shortages to have a negative impact on their business results. Yet the world’s pool of latent talent is enormous. To unlock it, governments, business leaders, educational institutions and individuals must each understand better the global talent value chain. Business, in particular, must re-think its role as a consumer of ‘ready-made’ human capital to proactively seek out, engage and develop people’s potential. Better data and metrics are critical to this undertaking.
The Human Capital Report provides one such tool: the Human Capital Index. The Index quantifies how countries are developing and deploying their human capital and tracks progress over time. It takes a life-course approach to human capital, evaluating the levels of education, skills and employment available to people in five distinct age groups, starting from under 15s to the over 65s. The Index covers 124 countries, representing between them 92% of the world’s people and 98% of its GDP. It measures present performance against an ideal benchmark, and offers insight into how well a country is positioned for deploying talent in the future. In addition to the Index, the Report provides comprehensive information on the talent base in each country, including information on education levels of the employed, unemployed and the inactive members of the population as well as the specific qualifications of the latest entrants to the workforce.
Dialogue, collaboration and partnerships between all sectors are crucial for unlocking the world’s latent talent—and hence its growth potential. The World Economic Forum’s Global Challenge Initiative on Employment, Skills and Human Capital seeks to understand the underlying causes of unemployment and the skills gap, to anticipate future trends and disruptions in labour markets and to identify successful practices and engage multiple stakeholders in deploying solutions. In addition to the Human Capital Report, the Initiative’s Disrupting Unemployment portal consolidates information on business-led partnerships for addressing skills gaps, fostering entrepreneurship and facilitating the talent market, while the Future of Jobs tool identifies key trends and disruptions in the labour market and their implications for occupations and skills over the next five years. We hope that, together, these tools provide all stakeholders with the ability to measure, track and forecast change and to learn from the successful experiences of others. In addition, the Initiative provides a platform for acting on these findings, by engaging leaders into public private partnerships to address education, skills and employment issues in several regions and industries.
We would like to express our appreciation to Till Leopold, Richard Samans and Saadia Zahidi for their leadership of this Report. We would also like to thank Yasmina Bekhouche, Jessica Camus, Kristin Keveloh, Pearl Samandari Massoudi, Valerie Peyre and Paulina Padilla Ugarte for their support to this project. We appreciate the collaboration with Mercer and the particular support of Linda Chen, Senior Associate; Rick Guzzo, Co-leader, Workforce Sciences Institute; Charlotte Harding, Principal; Tamara Leonardi, Associate; Patricia Milligan, President, North America Region; and Haig Nalbantian, Co-leader, Workforce Sciences Institute. Finally, we welcome the leadership of the Partners of the Employment, Skills and Human Capital Global Challenge Initiative and their commitment to addressing talent issues globally.
An ability to quantify human capital and set targets for its growth is ever more important today, as technological, geopolitical, demographic and economic forces profoundly reshape labour markets. Furthermore, investing in human capital goes beyond an economic necessity: it is the basis for individuals to live up to their full potential. It is our hope that this latest edition of the Report and the comprehensive work of the Employment, Skills and Human Capital Global Challenge Initiative will serve as a catalyst for progress, for our economies and societies alike.