Israel is ranked 25th in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) "Human Capital Index", published in its 2013 Human Capital Report. The report examines the ability of countries to develop and exploit the economic potential of their citizens, and is intended to help improve the allocation of resources for developing human capital. As the report states, "the Index is based on four pillars: three core determinants of human capital (education, health and employment) plus those factors that allow these three core determinants to translate into greater returns." These four pillars cover a total of 51 indicators.
The Index is topped by Switzerland, Finland and Singapore. Israel comes out ahead of countries like Spain, Italy and Russia, but behind Malaysia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. "Israel’s high educational attainment rates help drive its overall scores," the report states, adding that " Israel’s Life expectancy, Business impact of noncommunicable diseases and health services indicators are strong performers for the country." Israel is ranked 27th for education, 29th for health, 32nd for equality of opportunity, achieving its highest ranking in the workforce and employment pillar, at 20th.
Israel stands out favorably for several indicators: 5th out of 122 for secondary education enrolment rate; 3rd for life expectancy; joint 1st with many countries for water, sanitation and hygiene; 22nd for healthcare quality; 11th for ease of finding skilled employees; 4th for capacity for innovation; 5th for firm level technology absorption; 7th for scientific and technical journal articles (per 1,000 people); 8th for business and university R&D collaboration; and 2nd in the world for tertiary education attainment.
On other indicators, Israel does badly. For quality of maths and science education, the country is ranked a lowly 68th. It comes in at 60th for quality of primary schools; 98th for obesity; 103rd for depression; 86th for stress; 89th for labor force participation rate in the 15-64 age group; 57th for pay related to productivity; 84th for quality of domestic transport; and 55th for social mobility.
"The key for the future of any country and any institution lies in the talent, skills and capabilities of its people," WEF chairman Prof. Klaus Schwab writes in the preface to the report. "With talent shortages projected to become more severe in much of the developed and developing world, it will be imperative to turn our attention to how these shortages can be met in the short term and prevented in the long term, he warns, adding, " For the individual, as well as for societies and economies as a whole, investing in human capital is critical; even more so in the context of shifting population dynamics and limited resources."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 2, 2013
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