static image

Australia's competitiveness improves marginally in 2018

Australia has been ranked as the 14th most competitive economy globally, according to the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report 2018 released today.

This represents a move up by one place from last year*, as the WEF's Top 10 continued to be dominated by large highly advanced economies, including the US (1), Germany (3), Japan (5) and the UK (8), as well as smaller northern European economies such as Switzerland (4), The Netherlands (6) and Sweden (9). Singapore (2) and Hong Kong (7) also rank in the Top 10.

The Australian Industry Group partnered with the WEF in collecting the business data in Australia.

Australia ranks in the top 10 for only three of the 12 'pillars' in the WEF Report: macroeconomic stability (shared top spot with 31 other countries), health (4th) and product market (8th).

Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said: "This year’s WEF results indicate Australia's performance deteriorated most notably in infrastructure. This was balanced out by improvements in ICT adoption (mainly mobile phone and broadband uptake) and innovation capability.

"As in 2017, Australia still performs relatively well with regard to our macroeconomic stability and general standard of health, but relatively poorly with regard to the flexibility and responsiveness of our labour market. We are also being held back by relatively lower scores for our market structures and our innovation ecosystem.

"This indicates the current focus on building out our national infrastructure (in transport, telecomms and skills) is the right path. But it also indicates we need to sharpen our skills, our workplace flexibilities and especially our ability to bring innovation all the way from R&D through the development phase and into the market.

"Maintaining and improving these aspects of our global competitiveness is crucial to maintaining prosperity for all," Mr Willox said.

Key Points:

  • Australia ranked as having the 14th most competitive business environment in 2018 in this year's (revised*) WEF Global Competitiveness Report, up one place since 2017.
  • Australia ranked inside the top 10 in three of the 12 pillars: macroeconomic stability, health and product market. Australia shared top spot with 31 other countries for macroeconomic stability and obtained a near perfect score for health, while Australia also obtained a high score for the breadth and depth of the financial system.
  • Australia's weakest pillars were for the labour market and innovation capability.
  • The United States was ranked number 1 in 2018 and is therefore the closest to the "competitiveness frontier" (where a country would obtain a perfect score), with a score of 85.6 points (out of 100).
  • The WEF's Top Ten continues to be dominated by large highly advanced economies, including the US, the UK, Japan and Germany, as well as smaller northern European economies such as Switzerland, The Netherlands and Sweden. Singapore and Hong Kong also rank in the Top 10.

Read the Australian WEF findings

Download the full WEF Global Competitiveness Report

Australia's GCI Results 2018: the 12 ‘Pillars’

* This year the WEF revised the structure, scale and weights in its ‘Global Competitiveness Report’ (GCR) indexes, so this year’s results are not directly comparable to GCR results prior to 2017. On the old scale, Australia ranked 21st or 22nd since 2013-14 and ranked outside the top 20 countries since 2012-13.

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347