Cost efficiency is a factor many organizations focus on when evaluating talent engagements. Workforce cost efficiency provides insight into the total cost of labor, beyond simple wage considerations and is inclusive of statutory burdens and other costs.


Calculating Workforce Cost Efficiency

The primary data sources for this index are all based on statistics from the ministries of labour for each of the markets within scope, the Central Intelligence Agency (U.S.), World Data Bank, Trading Economics, and internal data collected as part of ManpowerGroup global reporting efforts.

Top Ten Markets for Total Workforce Cost Efficiency

Certain engagements do not require specialized skills or English proficiency. Where the skills needed are broad enough, many employment organizations can focus primarily on the metrics related to the cost of skills. While most of these markets rank very favorably relative to cost, they do not fare as well when ranked for Availability, Productivity or Regulatory and the resulting impact to workforce engagement.

The only exception to this generality being the Philippines, which ranks well consistently across the other categories. In 2019 the Philippines rises to second in cost efficiency, from third in 2018. This is due to additional investments that the Philippines has made into its workforce over the past few years. allowing this market to emerge as a global leader. Cost efficiency may remain a primary influencer driving new investments in this market. However, the availability of skills and English proficiency has continued to improve.

Ranked first for the third consecutive year is Thailand. Thailand is in the early stages of its 20-year advanced development strategy named Thailand 4.0, and local and international businesses are investing heavily in the Eastern Economic Corridor, a showcase zone for higher-technology and green industries just east of Bangkok. A new curriculum that will produce 40,000 digital and high-tech workers by 2022, will begin contributing to closing the human resource gap for the Kingdom’s advanced development in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Top Ten Markets for Total Workforce Cost Efficiency

Size of the bubble reflects the Relative Availability of each market, while the color reflects Relative Regulation

  • Minimal Regulatory Impact
  • Moderate Regulatory Impact
  • Restrictive Regulatory Impact

Comparison of Top 10 for Workforce Cost Efficiency Over Time


2017 Top 10 2018 Top 10 2019 Top 10











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