A recent ranking of global talent placed Japan at No. 20 worldwide for competitiveness and worker quality. Such a ranking is not terrible, but the survey reveals Japan's lack of readiness for the future global economy, which will involve rapid technological changes and a highly mobile workforce, as well as demands for innovation, flexibility and diverse aptitudes in workers.

The survey by Insead Business School analyzed the basic government and business environment of different countries to gauge the extent to which they encourage creativity, responsiveness and adaptability in their businesses, and specifically to find how well those countries attract, develop and retain talented workers. The survey considered how prepared each country is for competing in the future knowledge economy.

The top three countries in the ranking — Switzerland, Singapore and Luxembourg — maintained their emphasis on producing and retaining top-quality workers despite the limitations of location, population or natural resources.