Human capital is not a one-dimensional concept and can mean different things to different stakeholders.

In the business world, human capital is the economic value of an employee’s set of skills.

To a policymaker, human capital is the capacity of the population to drive economic growth.

To others it may include tacit knowledge acquired informally through experience, non-cognitive skills, such as inter-personal skills and the physical, emotional and mental health of individuals.

The Human Capital Index aims to accommodate this conceptual diversity and takes a holistic approach, while keeping an overall focus on maximising a nation’s human potential.


Learning, contains several sub-themes related to education: Enrolment in education and Quality of education, which impact the future labour force; the educational attainment of those already in the labour force; and workplace learning—the level of opportunity in a country to acquire new skills both through formal on-the-job training as well as through learning-by-doing, tacit knowledge and learning from colleagues. These sub-themes are distributed across the five age group pillars.

Enrolment in education

Access to education for today’s children and youth—the future workforce—is captured using net adjusted enrolment rates for primary school and net enrolment rates for secondary school, as well as through gross tertiary enrolment ratios and a measure of the education gender gap at the secondary enrolment level.

Download: Measuring Human Capital – World Economic Forum Reports