We were recently in Botswana talking with our fellow HR Professionals there. One of our points of discussion there was the topic of global competitiveness and how we fare. We took a look at the stats and we’re sharing some of the insights with you here.
Looking at the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI), there is good news for South Africa. We have managed to stem a 4-year decline and jump back into the top 50 – just – securing 49th place. What is this down to? Apparently it is improvements in technological readiness, where we jumped from 66 to 50, a huge 16 places. According to the Competitiveness Report 2015–2016, we also improved our ranking for efficiency in the labour market, up 6 places to 107. Who is the most competitive country in our region? That would be Mauritius at 46, we follow at 49 and Rwanda assumes 58th place.
However it is not all good news. South Africa occupies last position for co-operation in labour-employer relations at 140, and almost last for our hiring and firing practices, 138th position. Flexibility of wage determination lands us at 137; and linkage between pay and productivity, at 127. These are not the stats we want to see.
Sub-Saharan Africa continued to grow at close to 5%, but competitiveness and productivity remained low.
HR – are we happy to be at the bottom of the ladder for items that fall or at least partly fall within our sphere of influence? Isn’t it our job to tackle these challenges on behalf of the employer and the employee, to create better outcomes for all?
The report does tell us where to focus to improve our competitiveness. It finds links between competitiveness and an economy’s ability to nurture, attract, leverage and support talent. The top-ranking countries all fare well in this regard.
“A failure to embrace long-term structural reforms that boost productivity and free up entrepreneurial talent is harming the global economy’s ability to improve living standards, solve persistently high unemployment and generate adequate resilience for future economic downturns.”
That’s what the report notes globally. Focus on liberating your talent, and you focus on your future.