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The eighth edition of Global Talent Competitiveness Index – GTCI – 2021 has been published. This year it has been co-produced by INSEAD, France, and Portulans Institute, a think-tank based in Washington, DC, and Geneva.

GTCI measures talent along set parameters in various countries of the world, which more or less remain the same. In the 2021 report, 134 countries are included. The complete report has 328 pages and those interested may follow the link at the end to see the full report.

Analysis of Findings … Continued from Previous

We shall analyze Pakistan alone and vis-à-vis our neighbors.

Table 1

CountryGTCI RankingEnableAttractGrowRetainVT SkillsGK Skills

Note. The higher number denotes lower standing

I hope the sequence is clear now. First step in Talent Development is to create environment which Enables the development of talent for everyone. It is through policy frameworks, procedures, social, cultural, and legal support systems. Next is to Attract everyone to take benefit of the enabling circumstances and develop their talent. Next is to help Grow their talent. Last input pillar is Retain.

Fifth Pillar – Vocational and Technical Skills – VT

This is first of the two output indicators. All countries are poor; Iran is the best at #91, followed by Turkey at #95, followed by India at #99, followed by Pakistan at #108, and the last is BD at #116. For Pakistan, it is understandable that we are forcing our children to get degrees which are useless in marketplace. There is no analysis of what and how much is required in the workforce. Children opt for subjects under peer pressure, or parents’ pressure, or teachers’ suggestions. Billions of rupees are changing hands in the business of education without adequate reward for the students. Vocational and Technical Skills are considered equivalent to menial work and better/ brilliant students do not wish to do it even if they have aptitude for it.

The first variable is mid-level skills in which Turkey tops the list at #77, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are at similar level at 107, 115 and 116 respectively. Mid-level skills include associate engineers, diploma holders, technicians, paramedics, nurses and so on. We are not producing enough of them and whatever number are produced are exported to middle east, and other countries.

Second variable is secondary-educated workforce. Iran tops at #90, India is at the bottom with #114. Pakistan is second lowest at #104. Most of our workforce is not educated beyond basic. In office jobs, many job carry requirement of secondary school only, not beyond that. The workforce in shops, businesses, production, manufacturing, support, transport, food, markets, technical works like electricians, plumbing, construction, services have little or no education. It starts from child labor which arises out of large families with small resources. Pakistan population growth after dipping for a few years, started rising again. It is around 2.3% currently and the future estimates are staggering. Low-income families still believe that more children will become more sources of income for the family. The out-of-school children issue has two dimensions: one, the cost of sending to school which may be managed through free education; two, the loss of income for family when the child goes to school, for which there is no remedy.

Secondary-educated population is slightly better, but then why secondary-educated workforce is low? The anomaly may be explained by understanding that after attending high school, which is ten years of education, young people refuse to do skill-based jobs that require hands-on, manual work. So they keep floating around, trying to get some kind of office job where they can feel better placed.

Technicians and associate professionals, as discussed earlier, are not growing. Pakistan is just above BD at #103. The institutions for training in these areas are in the state of decay and the quality and quantity of their output has not improved over time. There are many technical jobs for which no training is available. The knowledge is transferred from people to people, and it has never been institutionalized. Textile machinery operators, Textile process operators, shoemakers, pharmaceutical machine operators, and many more skilled workers learn from their senior only, there is no other source.

Labor productivity situation is alarming. Turkey tops the list at #24, Pakistan ends the list at #112. India and BD are close by. Comparing productivity of our labor with many other countries endorses this fact. There are three major reasons for this huge difference. One, the jobs are not designed properly, there are duplications and overlaps, with many people trying to do the same thing in bits and pieces. Due to the random distribution of work, the responsibility to deliver is shared, and the accountability gets diffused. Even with low productivity, the labor feels they are doing a great job. Two, the compensation is poor. Most companies do not pay even the minimum wage fixed by the government. The employees do not feel engaged at all, and productivity is dismal. Three, hiring is not done on merit, it is on referral, recommendation, connection, arrangement etc. People are given jobs for which they are not qualified, which mars the overall productivity.

Second sub-pillar is the employability of workforce becoming available. India tops the list at #78, Pakistan is nearby at #83. This should be seen along with its variable, skills match, where Iran tops the list at #52, India is #77, and Pakistan is #88. The skills that are required and the skills that are available do not match and this gap hurts employability. Of course, it hurts productivity also.

Relevance of education system to the economy is the best in Pakistan at #40. India is close by at #46. This seems like a contradiction because we believe our education system does not relate to our needs. It is more about the design. The education system supports the needs of economy, but the delivery does not. Therefore, the benefit does not accrue.

The practical side of the above is reflected better in the variable of ease of finding skilled employees. None of the countries fares well; Pakistan is at #71, India at #83 and BD at #111. Our education system does not consider market needs. The purpose of education is to award/earn a degree which may or may not be useful for finding work.

The sum up of the fifth pillar, vocational and technical skills – VT skills is that we are not producing enough skilled workforce. We must shake up our education system and make it outcome-based rather than rote-based. We also need to strengthen/ add institutions of technical education.

To be Continued…….

Disclaimer. Most pictures in these blogs are taken from Google Images which does not show anyone’s copyright claim. However, if any such claim is presented, we shall remove the image with suitable regrets.

The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2021 (

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