Research - 27.09.2017 - 00:00 

Switzerland still considered to be the most competitive country

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has published the Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018. Switzerland defended its first place in the Global Competitiveness Index as the world’s most competitive nation. The Executive School of the University of St.Gallen (ES-HSG) conducted this year’s survey among chief executive officers of Swiss companies in partnership with the WEF.

27 September 2017. The Swiss national economy again occupies first place in the Global Competitiveness Index, thus underpinning its strong, sustainable competitiveness since the financial crisis in 2008. Switzerland’s performance again remained robust; indeed, it even improved in comparison with the preceding year, which means that Switzerland attained the best result since the introduction of the measuring method in 2007, but only just ahead of the US, the new runner-up, followed by Singapore, the Netherlands and Germany.

Innovation, efficiency, education system

As in previous years, the Swiss national economy owes its good position to the consistently good places in the individual areas. Switzerland is among the top ten in eleven out of twelve categories. In particular, it is the above-average innovation potential of Switzerland as a centre of thought leadership and work (1st place), which manifests itself in, among other things, the high number of patent applications (3rd place), the quality of scientific research institutions (1st place) and the level of expenditure on research and development (1st place), as well as the unusually high development level of the economy (1st place) that make Switzerland the world’s most competitive nation.

In addition, Switzerland scores with the highest degree of efficiency of the national labour market (1st place), which is characterised inter alia by very good social partnerships and a high degree of flexibility. This also includes the ability to attract the most talented employees and retain them in the country (both 1st place). Higher education and on-the-job training options are also excellent.

The high quality of educational institutions (1st place), which is primarily reflected in the world’s best scientific institutions and management schools, as well as dual vocational training, and close cooperation between business and academia (1st place), allow for the development of intelligent products and processes for commercial application. Switzerland now also leads the ranking of basic requirements (1st place), which map the quality of institutions, the quality of the infrastructure, macroeconomic performance, as well as the quality of healthcare and of compulsory education.

Switzerland’s public institutions are among the world’s most transparent and efficient (4th place), which reinforces confidence in business activities. Also, infrastructural facilities are of a very high quality (6th place), legal security is guaranteed, and public institutions are extremely honest. Finally, Switzerland’s macroeconomic environment is among the world’s most stable (3rd place), which is partially the result of the debt brake.

Regulation and taxation are worrying

Increasing bureaucratisation and regulation are now considered to be the greatest problem for successful economic activities. In addition, restrictive work regulations, access to talented employees and the complexities of corporate taxation are entrepreneurs’ greatest worries.

As a partner of the WEF, the Executive School of the University of St.Gallen (ES-HSG) again conducted this year’s survey among the executives of Swiss firms. This survey is regarded as the most important component of the Global Competitiveness Report and contains those indicators which make the report an annually representative yardstick for all nations’ international competitiveness.

The complete report can be found at

Photo: photocase /

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