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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. First output pillar was VT Skills, second is GK Skills.

Sixth Pillar – Global Knowledge Skills – GK Skills

This is the last of the two output indicators. These skills include higher-level skills like professional skills, management skills which are universally applicable. Turkey tops the list at #57, India is at par with #58, BD is at the bottom at #128. Pakistan is at #95. When we look at its variables, some contradictions seem to appear, but when we connect dots, we understand better.

Our tertiary-educated population is higher than our tertiary educated workforce, so where are the highly educated people going? One reason is that our education does not match the market needs, and the degree-holders find their degrees useless. Two, the employment opportunities are less, and the highly educated people do not find appropriate jobs. Three, there is a perpetual brain-drain where highly educated people either find jobs in Middle East and leave or get immigration and leave for ever.

The number of professionals is highest in Turkey and Iran. Pakistan and India are close by and down the list because our education systems resemble in many respects. Professionals include all those people who go for purpose-based education, doctors, engineers, accountants, lawyers, IT people, and so on. The point is which of the professionals are we producing? Are we relevant to international needs? Because we are talking about GK skills.

Researchers are at a reasonable number generally, though Iran and Turkey are at the top. India produces a large number of PhDs. Pakistan started late but has gotten better. However, the quality of research is a question mark. In many cases, the topics are slightly tweaked to make use of the earlier research. In scientific subjects, the same work is repeated in the same way on another material or species. This is not helping the cause of furthering research. The industry-academia partnership is non-existent; therefore, the research does not carry any commercial value. In developed countries, the PhD projects are funded by the industry grants and the research outcomes have practical value.

Among senior officials and managers, India tops at #20, Pakistan is at #90. The topmost corporations of the world, Google, Microsoft, Harvard Business School, are headed by Indians. Indians are occupying top, senior-level, and even middle level positions in MNCs, in Middle East and many other countries. This has evolved over many years through promotion of education, home-base improvement, and diplomatic efforts. Indians have the privilege of getting visa on arrival in many countries, where Pakistanis face great difficulties in obtaining even a regular visa. There are isolated examples of brilliant Pakistanis who get offers from abroad, but it is a tiny minority.

Among availability of scientists and engineers, India again tops at #20, Pakistan is at #58. India established IITs on the pattern of MIT very long time ago, and they have been focusing on science and engineering. Our engineering history is good due to UET and NED and few later institutes, but in comparison to our population, it is small. And our national focus is seriously lacking.

The second sub-pillar of GK skills is Talent Impact. India tops at #47, Pakistan is at #97, BD at 131. The impact is rated at both domestic and international level. Indian talent is impacting the world in a significant way. As mentioned earlier, Indians are sitting at the top and senior positions in major corporations and are making a major impact on the entire world. Decisions made by Sundar Pichai, head of Google and its parent company, Alphabet, impact the entire world. Americans and Europeans are still the majority, but Indians are catching up. Pakistanis, as a community, are losing impact. Our doctors, engineers, scientists, who went to US and Europe 40 – 50 years ago, or even earlier, made great name and fame for themselves and the country, but not so now.

In the variable, innovation output, India ranks highest at #44, Pakistan is at #87. Indians are innovating to the extent that ‘Jugaad’ has been entered into the English dictionary. It is an unconventional, non-traditional, improvised, innovative way of solving a problem, which is workable and sustainable. Pakistan shall keep lagging behind until the industry-academia relationship is strengthened, and the scientific research starts reflecting the practical needs.

High-value exports are highest from India at #46, Pakistan is at #98. High value exports include value-added products, software, pharmaceuticals, raw materials, etc. which are big foreign exchange earners. Pakistan has lost in this sector to the extent that we started exporting cotton rather than value-added cotton products. We then import yarn and make finished textile products. We cannot compete in textile export without getting GSP plus facility.

New product entrepreneurial activity – India is top of the tops at #3, Turkey at #22, Pakistan at 32, and BD at #90.  Indian corporates are investing heavily into innovation and are reaping the fruit of it. Due to their innovation capability, they are getting work from out of the country also. Pakistanis are brilliant people, but our energy is not channelized, our governments are among the worst on the planet, and the disconnect between rulers and the ruled is huge.

Scientific journal articles variable is topped by Iran at #41, Turkey at #47, India at 80, and Pakistan at #87. Higher education institutions in Pakistan are now emphasizing on publishing scientific work in the journals having high ‘impact factor’, which is related to the ranking of the journal. These are international publications which accept research papers after review by experts. The first requirement for getting published in an impact-factor journal is the quality of research. In addition, time and cost is also involved.

This completes our discussion on the four input-pillars, two output-pillars, along with their sub-pillars and variables. In the next post, we shall sum up the discussion and conclude the topic.

To be Continued…….

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The Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2021 (

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