The most technologically advanced nations for contractors

Best countries for contractors

12th September 2023

A new index based on data produced by Global Finance ranks the countries around the world that are leading the way when it comes to technological advancements. The data is based on a number of factors that incorporate the technological breadth and adoption of a country. These include internet users and 4G users as a percentage of the population, along with the country’s Digital Competitiveness Score, provided by the IMD World Competitiveness Centre. This particular data point is based on multiple areas including technological knowledge, current technological strength, and readiness/capability to create and advance new innovations. But where makes the cut and where are the best countries for contractors looking the best technology in the world for their next role?

Most technologically advanced countries

Along with technological adoption levels and each nation’s Digital Competitiveness Score, which essentially measures a country’s current technological environment and its prospects for future success, the rankings also factor in the portion of GDP spent on research and development (R&D), which represents both the government’s investment into the future technological development as well as the desire to compete for future advancement. All of these metrics combine to rank countries by both the level of their technological capabilities, but also their populations’ use and knowledge of these technologies.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for those who have worked or visited the country, South Korea comes out on top with a composite score of 6.63. The country remains a world leader in technological advancement and invests heavily in R&D, while its citizens combine high-level skills with a naturally innovative culture. Other East Asian countries that also make the top 20 include Japan, Taiwan and Singapore.

In fact, East Asian and European nations hold 16 of the top 17 positions in these rankings, except for the United States, which ranks second. The US is obviously home to some of the largest tech firms in the world and has globally leading communications infrastructure which makes its position hardly surprising. The rest of the top five is rounded out by Taiwan, which climbed three places in the rankings over the past year as a result of increasing investment into R&D, and Denmark and Switzerland, two countries that are used to ranking near the top of a variety of best country indices. Both nations hold relatively small areas of land and are therefore less able to rely on high levels of natural resources for their economic power, leading them to invest in technology and innovation to boost their coffers.

Falling powers

Countries including Germany and Japan dropped in the rankings this year. The latter nation saw a reduction in the percentage of its population that used the internet and, according to the report, sports a notable reliance on analogue processes in its public sector. Japan also saw a decline in its Digital Competitiveness due to a lack of business technological agility and declining international experience in technology.

The two largest countries in the world by population, which both expected to see strong growth in technological progress, struggled in this year’s ranking, despite government support, deep scientific knowledge and significant technological expertise across various sectors. China came in at 41st position while India ranked 65th, despite most commentators believing that both would advance rapidly. China’s internet population, at around 73%, still falls far below its economic peers. And while China invests significantly into research & development for critical technologies, it lacks the ability to leverage the power its population for greater technological advancement. The Chinese government has also cracked down on the private technology sector, limiting and even reducing its reach and size. India, for its part, has invested very little of its country’s GDP into research and development. While the establishment of the National Research Foundation is designed to help increase investment and support for technological and scientific education and advancement, it may not play the pivotal role that India desires.

Other major nations like Brazil (55th), Indonesia (59th) and Russia (44th) all continued to rank poorly and have made few gains in any areas measured by the index. Russia scores above average only in its percentage of the population that uses the internet and, unsurprisingly, the war with Ukraine has spurred an exodus of technological expertise, creating the potential for a brain drain of technological and scientific professionals for years to come.

Working in each of the countries near the top of the index provides amazing opportunities for those contracting overseas who are looking to boost their careers and find roles aided by world-leading technological infrastructure. However, they also present challenges, most notably with remaining compliant with domestic tax legislation and often complex regulatory systems. Unless you feel comfortable tackling Japanese or South Korean regulatory processes in a foreign language then you’re strongly advised to partner with an expert firm, rather than taking the risk.

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