Which Countries Treat Their Workers the Best?

The Human Capital Report released Tuesday by the World Economic Forum gauged 122 countries in terms of education, employment, "enabling environment" and health. It was the first report of its kind and interesting because of the way it ranked countries based on how well they treat their workers. The top region was North Europe and the top country? Well, spoiler alert: It's not the United States. But what can Americans learn from these list-toppers about how to foster a healthy workforce?

(Photo credit: World Economic Forum)

Switzerland ranked first in terms of employee health and wellness. Yemen last. And Northern Europe was the top-ranked region in the study. After Switzerland, the top countries were Finland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Canada. Evidently, the U.S., which ranked 16th on the list, needs to step up its game. 

The study was designed to show countries how they measure up globally, Saadia Zahidi, the guy in charge of the Human Capital project, told the Wall Street Journal.

"The project stemmed from conversations about the global jobs problem – particularly youth unemployment and regional skills gaps – and how countries can better invest in current and future workers," Brenda Cronin writes for WSJ.

Researchers looked at life-long investment in a person from birth to death in things like early childhood education, healthcare access and training throughout their career. They investigated data like employment rates, academic enrollment, life expectancies, business surveys and infant mortality rates.


"The key for the future of any country and any institution lies in the talent, skills, and capabilities of its people," executive chairman Klaus Schwab writes in the WEF's Human Capital Report. "By providing a comprehensive framework for benchmarking human capital, the Report highlights countries that are role models in investing in the health, education, and talent of their people and providing an environment where these investments translate into productivity for the economy."


Here's a link to the original report. 

Tell Us What You Think

Do you think the U.S. could learn from Switzerland? Leave a comment or join the discussion onTwitter.


  1. 4 Guest 13 Nov
    Yet Canada consistently enjoys a higher quality of life than the U.S.
  2. 3 fabio 07 Nov
    @ Greg, I agree, Germany has a population comparable with St. Luis and Canada is as big as a county in Colorado... Thanks for enlightening me
  3. 2 ITP 30 Oct

    I wonder why Canada is in the top list???

    Canada pays about half salary than US for IT professionals.

    The cost of living is about 1.5 times than US and with high tax bracket (due to less population and vast area) people can only save for peanuts!

    -Canadian real estate prices are 2 to 4 times higher than USA for similar size or population cities or villages.

    -The cost of gas (patrol) is 1.25 times than the US although Canada exports gas to US. So, many items are expensive is more expensive than US, forget about competing to developing countries.

    Immigrants have double unemployment rate than common people (i.e 6.8 vs. 13.5%).  

    About 10-12 educational evaluations authority and more than 300 licensing authority for jobs.

    Basically, I would say they operate a "Economic Slavery System" in a damn cold region.

  4. 1 Greg 29 Oct
    Way to compare us to countries the size of counties in Colorado and with about the population of St. Louis. That's why most of these comparisons are junk science at best.


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