Global competitiveness

The World Economic Forum ranked Australia's economy 20th out of 144 countries for international competitiveness in 2012.  

Competitiveness is defined as 'the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of an economy'. In turn, the level of productivity in a country determines its long-term economic growth and capacity to sustain prosperity.

According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2012-13, Australia is a prime location for doing business, with efficient markets and strong public and private institutions. 

Competitive advantage

Australia's competitive advantages include financial market development, higher education and training, and health and primary education. 

When evaluated against other innovation driven economies, Australia's macroeconomic environment and market size also compare favourably. 

Australia ranked second in the world for the time required to start a business (and third for the number of procedures required), fourth for the efficacy of corporate boards, fifth for the soundness of its banks, sixth for intensity of local competition in goods markets, seventh for the quality of its scientific research institutions and eighth for the strength of auditing and reporting standards.

Global Competitiveness Index (GCI)1,2, 2012-13
Country GCI Subindexes
GCI ranking3 Basic requirements4 Efficiency enhancers5 Innovation factors6
Singapore 2 1 1 11
Germany 6 11 10 4
United States 7 33 2 7
United Kingdom 8 24 4 9
Hong Kong SAR 9 3 3 22
Japan 10 29 11 2
Taiwan 13 17 12 14
Korea 19 18 20 17
Australia 20 12 13 28
France 21 23 18 18
New Zealand 23 19 14 27
Malaysia 25 27 23 23
China 29 31 30 34
Thailand 38 45 47 55
Indonesia 50 58 58 40
India 59 85 39 43
Philippines 65 80 61 64


  1. Rankings out of 144 countries
  2. The overall Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) aims to measure the capacity of the national economy to achieve sustained prosperity and economic growth over the medium term, taking into account the current stage of development
  3. Scores which determine the GCI rankings are derived from a weighted average of scores for the three subindexes (which are in turn derived from weighted averages across 12 pillars and more than 100 indicators). The weighting for each subindex differs between three groupings of countries according to their stage of development - factor driven, efficiency driven and innovation driven. Additionally, countries considered to be in transition from one stage to the next will have their weights adjusted smoothly as they develop. For innovation driven economies such as Australia, the weightings are 20% for the basic requirements subindex, 50% for efficiency enhancers and 30% for innovation factors.
  4. Includes institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education
  5. Includes higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness and market size
  6. Includes business sophistication and innovation

Source: The Global Competitiveness Report, 2012-13, World Economic Forum