December 6, 2023

It is with great pleasure that we present the 6th edition of the Eight Competitiveness Report 2023, a biannual study that represents one of the most comprehensive global assessments of country competitiveness published to date.

Our report ranks 43 countries against more than 30 leading metrics, categorised in four equally weighted, overarching pillars – economics, education, society and sustainability – with the rankings split between countries with populations over or under 25 million as a means to ensure better relative comparison. Importantly, areas such as sustainability are viewed as significant as economic performance in terms of a country’s attractiveness to stakeholders such as international corporations.

Finland has secured the coveted title of the world’s most competitive country in our 2023 Competitiveness Report, impressively demonstrating its economic strength and strategic acumen. The country excels in areas such as education, social services and sustainability.

In addition to Finland, all Nordic countries performed well in this year’s study, with Sweden just behind Finland in second place in the less than 25 million league and Denmark and Norway in the top five (along with Switzerland). Iceland was rated first overall among all countries, large and small, in terms of sustainability, the only country out of all 43 to receive a coveted A+ score.

Among several strengths, Germany, Australia, Canada and the UK, despite all their ongoing challenges top the list for larger population countries, with strong rates noted for high-quality infrastructure, highly globalized economy, and often continued prioritization of social services and education resulting in an enhanced skills base for companies. Such countries also score well on issues such as anti-corruption efforts, gender pay and, at least for certain countries, environmental performance.

Alexis Karklins-Marchay, General Secretary at Eight International and Partner at Eight Advisory, said: “In what continues to be a very competitive global market for companies, talent, well-being, social progress and growth, Finland represents the very best in terms of overall competitiveness and attractiveness. Indeed, many smaller countries like Finland have performed well this year, which may not be overly surprising given many are more focused on key issues such as social well-being and productive societies.

“While our sixth study has looked at a very broad selection of prime metrics and categories to build a rounded picture of a country’s strengths and global standing, it is clear that in such a dynamic world, countries cannot afford to rest on their laurels. The traditional export-oriented business model of Germany has become very vulnerable to deglobalisation, for instance. Its dependency on Russian energy, coupled with disruptions in global energy markets, has significantly impacted the country’s economic model. Looking ahead to next year’s rankings, Germany may be lucky to top its category.”

For the 2023 Competitiveness Report, underlying metrics and data points assessed by us have all been taken from primary sources, indices and established studies from the likes of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, OECD, World Economic Forum, the Tax Foundation, RSF Reporters Without Borders, Transparency International and the World Health Organization.

We align each individual metric, such as the Global Gender Gap Index published by the World Bank, under one of the four pillars to build a unique picture of a country’s attractiveness to the likes of cross-border investors, global corporations and their staff.

Alexis Karklins-Marchay added: “For our 2023 study, we have introduced a novel ranking system, one that replaces linear ranks based exclusively on economic performance. This approach, we believe, transcends the limitations of conventional ranking and uncovers a more nuanced view of relative competitiveness. It acknowledges that no nation is defined by a single number but by its ability to balance multiple dimensions of progress.

“For us, the message is clear: competitiveness is not a zero-sum game; it is an inclusive journey toward a better world. Through our comprehensive study, we aspire to inspire governments, businesses, and individuals to view competitiveness as a call to action, guiding all of us toward holistic growth, prosperity, and a sustainable future.”

Enjoy the read: Eight Competitiveness Report