Is Ireland a Talent Magnet?
March 26, 2007
I recently came across an interesting passage cited by Richard Florida in his book, “Flight of the Creative Class.” I had the pleasure of meeting Richard after his speech at the POPTech conference last Fall in Camden Maine. In “Flight,” he says:
“The global talent pool and the high-end, high-margin creative industries that used to be the sole province of the U.S. and the critical source of its prosperity have begun to disperse around the globe. A host of countries – Ireland, Finland, Canada, Sweden, Australia, and New Zealand among them – are investing in higher education, producing creative people, and churning out cutting-edge products, from cellular phones to computer software to blockbuster movies. Many of them have learned from the United States success and are shoring up their efforts to attract foreign talent…”
Richard then goes on to describe a sector of society whom he calls the “creative class” – scientists, engineers, artists, and cultural creatives, saying that the competitive challenge before us in a global economy is no longer goods, services, or the flows of capital, but the competition for [these] people. He also has established a “Creative Index,” a measure of creative competitiveness of nations.
He says the U.S. places fourth, behind Sweden, Japan, and Finland. Fast on its heels is – Ireland.
Along with a PhD candidate from Carnegie Mellon, Richard used data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and compared forty-five nations on measures of creativity and competitiveness, looking at the percentage of society made up of the creative class. The U.S. is not even in the top five. It is in… eleventh place.
Ahead are several countries that have workforces where the creative class is a larger percentage. It constitutes about 1/3rd of the workforce in – Ireland.
He also describes says that the 2004 Globalization Index developed by A.T. Kearney and published in Foreign Policy places the U.S. seventh… behind – you guessed it – Ireland. Also ahead are Singapore, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Finland, and Canada.
It’s a very limited data sample, but after my speech in Galway, Ireland, I was privileged to have a few of the attendees at my table during the luncheon. I asked the fellow across from me where he was from. He replied, “Croatia.” Another clearly bright and articulate person to my right replied, “Czech Republic.” I asked, “Did you ever consider coming to the U.S. instead of Ireland? They replied, ‘Absolutely not.'”