S'pore world no. 3 for human capital

S'pore world no. 3 for human capital

A new index that measures a country's ability to make the most of its workers has ranked Singapore as the third most successful in the world and the best in Asia.

The Human Capital Index, developed by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), put Singapore just behind Switzerland and Finland in maximising the long-term potential of its labour force.

Of the 122 countries assessed, Japan was the only other Asian country to make it to the top 20 - in 15th place. The United States was one spot behind.

Not far below were Malaysia and South Korea, in 22nd and 23rd places respectively, while China - the top-ranking BRIC nation - came in at 43rd.

The WEF, a non-profit global organisation that aims to improve the state of the world, awarded Singapore high scores in three of the index's four criteria: the quality of the workforce and employment, education, and the working environment.

However, it fared less well in the last category: the physical and mental well-being of its workers.

This was mainly due to "the burden of disease in the country" - Singaporeans under the age of 60 suffer more deaths from non-communicable diseases than many other countries - which takes a toll on workers and businesses, the WEF said.

Workers here also reported high levels of stress, according to the index. As a result, Singapore ranked 13th in the "health and wellness" category.

In contrast, Singapore was awarded second place in the "workforce and employment" category.

It was recognised for its high labour force participation rate - the proportion of people able to be actively involved in the workforce - as well as the quality of skills and experience gained by its workers.

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