Thailand slipped one position to 43rd out of 63 economies in the World Talent Ranking 2019, while its regional peers Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines advanced, according to a report conducted by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre (WCC).
The sixth edition of the ranking takes into account investment and development, readiness and appeal.
Indonesia ranked 41st, up four spots, and the Philippines was 49th, climbing six places. Malaysia stayed at 22nd, while Singapore entered the top 10 for the first time, climbing from 13rd to 10th.
"In the long term, if Thailand's talent competitiveness severely declines, it may fail to satisfy demand, which could curtail the sustainability of value creation in the economy," Jose Caballero, senior economist of IMD Business School in Switzerland and Singapore, said in an email interview with the Bangkok Post.
He said Thailand's fall was because of a sharp decline in the appeal factor, which dropped six spots to 30th. In 2016 and 2017, Thailand ranked 23rd in appeal.
In terms of investment and development, Thailand continued its decline since 2016, dipping from 43rd to 49th this year.
Thailand ranked 52nd in total public expenditure on education.
In terms of readiness, Thailand ranked 51st in inbound student mobility, 49th in educational assessment and 44th in university education.
Referring to the appeal factor, Thailand ranked 55th for exposure to particle pollution and 44th in remuneration in services professions.
Mr Caballero said policymakers need to focus on reaching a balance between the development of local talent and the attraction of overseas skilled personnel to ensure a high level of talent readiness.
Investment in education, he said, needs to be increased to improve the quality of the system and its effectiveness.
Singapore -- the only Asian nation in the top 10 -- scores highest globally for talent readiness.
In this category, the island country ranked first for educational assessment, second for percentage of graduates in the sciences and third for the effectiveness of primary and secondary education as well as for inbound student mobility.
Denmark ranked first for investment and development, while Switzerland sat in the pole position for appeal.
"Most leading economies emphasise long-term talent development by focusing on investment and development," said Arturo Bris, director of WCC.
"This emphasis, however, goes beyond purely academic aspects to encompass the effective implementation of apprenticeships and employee training. Such an approach ensures a consistent alignment between talent demand and supply."
The report ranks Switzerland first, followed by Denmark, Sweden and Austria. The countries in the top 10 share strong levels of investment in education and a high quality of life.