WEF ranks Japan 15th in worker development

by Sayuri Daimon

Staff Writer

Japan ranks 15th among 122 countries in the World Economic Forum’s first Human Capital Index report on countries’ abilities to develop and deploy healthy, educated and able workers, the forum said Tuesday.

The report by the forum, known for its annual meeting of leaders from business, politics, academia and other fields, in Davos, Switzerland, showed Singapore, which ranked third, was the most successful Asian country in terms of developing human resources.

The Geneva-based organization accessed countries’ abilities to do so through four distinct pillars: education; health and wellness; workforce and employment; and helping people successfully develop their skills.

The report looks at human capital investment throughout the life cycle of the working person, assessing countries on their provision of education, health and wellness, and the policies and practices that enable people to develop and prosper during their working life.

According to the WEF, Japan’s performance is strong when it comes to creating a favorable environment for its workforce, with excellent life expectancy, which is ranked No. 1 globally, and workforce training.

However, Japan’s shortcomings can be seen in its education system, especially the quality of its management schools, high levels of stress and depression, and difficulty in attracting talent, where it ranked 65th out of 122 countries, it said. It added that low levels of integration of the “silver workforce” are also a barrier.

“The key for the future of any country and any institution lies in the skills and talent of its people,” said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman. “In the future, human capital will be the most important kind of capital. Investing in people is not just nice to have; it is imperative for growth, prosperity and progress.”

Meanwhile, Singapore’s strong performance is based on its outstanding workforce and employment score, which is the second-highest in the world, it said. It also scored high marks in terms of education and the development of its people. However, it fared less well in terms of health and wellness.

Switzerland topped the 122-country ranking, followed by Finland. Germany placed sixth and the U.S. was 16th.