When it comes to unlocking the talent of its workforce, Qatar fares well above most of its MENA peers, according to a new index from the World Economic Forum.
The 2015 edition of the Human Capital Report assessed 124 countries on factors such as education levels, skills and employment rates.
Out of the 12 MENA countries in the index, Qatar came in third, behind Israel (29th) and the UAE (54th). The three nations were the only ones in the region to make it into the upper half of the rankings.
By comparison, Saudi Arabia scored 85th, and Kuwait, 93rd. Several other Arab countries ranked near the bottom of the index, including Morocco (95th), Tunisia (98th) and Yemen (124th).
Finland was ranked first, in large part due to its strong educational system. Canada ranked 4th, the US 17th and the UK 19th.
What appeared to put Qatar ahead of many nations in the region was the growth potential of its young population.
The report broke down opportunities available to different age groups in each country, and Qatar’s rankings fared best when it came to the under-15 age group:
- Under 15 years old: 13th (the only Arab country in the top 30)
- 15-24 years old: 71st
- 25-54 years old: 75th
- 55-64 years old: 66th
- 65 years old and over: 75th
According to the report:
“The United Arab Emirates (54) and Qatar (56) benefit significantly from the strong perceived quality of their primary schools (13th and 9th overall, respectively) and overall education systems (9th and 3rd, respectively), but also report some of the lowest tertiary and vocational enrollment rates among their 15–24 age groups in the Index.”
However, the notion that Qatar’s primary schools are well-performing was seriously challenged this week, when a new global ranking put the Gulf state near the bottom of a 76-nation-index.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report examined how representative samples of 15-year-olds performed in math and science tests, ranking them relative to their peers in more than a third of the world’s nations.
Qatar came in 68th place overall. Coming only ahead of Oman (72nd), it was among the GCC’s poorest performing countries.
Still, it appears that high enrollment rates in primary education here point to the possibility that talent is being developed.
The WEF report encouraged Qatar and other Gulf nations to continue fostering that growth by ensuring more of its population go to college.
WEF’s inaugural human talent index was released in 2013. At that time, Qatar ranked 18th out of 122 nations globally, and first in the Middle East.
However, one of the report’s authors told Doha News that new methodologies were used to calculate this year’s index, so it is not comparable to the previous one.
Read the full WEF report here, and see more on Qatar below: