Germany: How does Europe’s economic powerhouse perform according to rankings on ease of doing business, talent attractiveness and sustainability? What are the pros and cons of living in EU’s most populated country? What about its country brand strength, soft power and reputation?

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Germany’s soft power and brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labor, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and wellbeing
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Soft power and brand strength

How does Germany compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

In the Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance, Germany secures the 3rd spot, sitting behind the US and the UK. Although Germany’s score has shown growth, rising from 64.6 in 2022 to 65.8 this year, it maintains last year’s positioning. Germany is perceived as the most sustainable nation and leads the Sustainable Future metric for taking proactive steps in formulating ambitious environmental policies. The nation’s robust environmental framework positions it as a trailblazer in both environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development.

In the U.S. News Best Countries 2023 ranking, Germany secures the 7th  position,  behind the US (5th) and Japan (6th). Notably, Germany excels in three key areas: entrepreneurship (2nd) assessing technological expertise, digital infrastructure, and a skilled labor force; power (4th), evaluating military strength, export prowess and economic influences; and quality of life (9th) examining the job market, affordability, economic stability, family friendliness, income equality, political stability, safety, educational and health systems. However, Germany dropped five positions from 2022, with lowest scores in movers and adventure factors.

The Anholt-Ipsos Nation Brand Index (NBI) calculates its ranking based on averaging the scores of six different factors: exports, governance, tourism, culture, people and immigration, and tourism. According to the NBI 2023 ranking Germany secures the 2nd position, a drop of one place since 2022, the country previously held the first position for six years.

Talent attraction and competitiveness

Is Germany an attractive place for talented workers?

The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index 2019 edition placed Germany at the 7th position among 141 countries. However, it’s important to note that an updated version of this report hasn’t been released in the past 5 years, and rankings may have shifted since then.

Germany, classified as a high-income country within the European regional group, currently holds the 14th position in the Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2023. Notably, Germany performs most remarkably in the Retain and VT Skills pillars where it holds the 6th position in both and its main challenge is the GK Skills pillar where it ranked 23rd.

In terms of education excellence, Germany boasts eight universities within the top 100 worldwide, according to the World University Rankings 2024. These esteemed institutions are: Technical University of Munich, LMU Munich, Universität Heidelberg, Humboldt University of Berlin, RWTH Aachen University, University of Bonn, Charité- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and University of Tübingen.

Appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel

What is the global perception of Germany as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Expat Insider 2023 ranks Germany in 49th position out of 53 countries,  below Italy (47th) and South Africa (48th). However, the country ranks 9th in the Salary and Job Security metric, and 13th in the Career Prospects metric.

As per the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023, Germany experienced a 76% decrease of FDI inflows; however it ranks in the top five recipients of Green Field Projects announcements. In terms of FDI outflows, it ranks 4th in 2022, a slight decrease from its 3rd position in 2021.

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasizing perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. Regionally, Germany continues to place 3rd behind the United Kingdom (1st) and France (2nd). Globally, it jumped an impressive four positions and now holds the 5th position, thanks to its high Net FDI score and continued D2 – Digital Demand ©. 

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Germany at the 4th global position, placing six positions higher than the previous ranking.  Regionally, it now holds the 3rd position experiencing a jump of two positions. This overall success for Germany is due to its outstanding results for D2 – Digital Demand © and social media performance.

In the IMD 2023 World Competitiveness Ranking, Germany secured the 22nd position, showing a drop of seven positions from the 2022 ranking. Currently, it sits just behind Luxembourg (20th) and China (21st) while surpassing Israel (23rd) and Austria (24th).

In terms of specific characteristics, Germany’s economic performance dropped seven positions to the 12th spot in 2023. It holds the 27th position for government efficiency, experiencing a drop of six positions compared to 2022. Lastly, it drops eight positions to the 29th position for business efficiency, and holds the 14th spot for infrastructure, dropping five positions since 2022.

According to the European Innovation Scoreboard 2023, Germany belongs to the second group, Strong Innovators, whereas Belgium, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, and Sweden are Innovation Leaders in the region. Its performance has increased by 7.6% points during the period between 2016 and 2023.

Germany a “Good Country”?

How big is Germany’s contribution to global well-being?

In the Caf World Giving Index 2023, Germany secured the 45th position, showcasing a jump of 10 positions from the previous year. Notably, Germany performs most admirably in the subfactor of helping a stranger where 64% of its adult population helped a stranger in the past year.

In the Good Country Index, Germany currently holds the 3rd position overall, with notable subfactors as follows: Science & Technology (27th), Culture (26th), International Peace & Security (33rd), World Order (10th), Planet & Climate (13th), Prosperity & Equality (12th), and Health & Wellbeing (1st). It’s worth mentioning that in 2022, Germany was  also ranked 3rd, and in 2021, it held the 5th position. While the country has maintained its positioning from the 2022 ranking, some factors have experienced significant drops while others moderately increased.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Germany ranked in the blue zone (8-9 range) with a 8.8 out of 10. This is higher than the United Kingdom who scored 8.28 and France( 8.07) but lower than Canada who scored 8.88 and the Netherlands (9).

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index, ranks Germany 9th with a score of 79/100, below Switzerland (7th) and the Netherlands (8th). Germany’s score has decreased by one since 2021.

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Germany in 4th position, it highlights that Germany, although in the top 10, some significant and major challenges are still to be overcome. However, the Clean Water and Sanitation factor is on track.

Peace and happiness

Is Germany a happy and safe place to invest time and money in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Germany 15th, jumping two positions from last years’ index. Just behind Finland (13th) and Croatia (14th), Germany falls under the high sector of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. It is positioned (11th) regionally amongst its fellow European countries, led by Iceland and Denmark.

The Institute for Economics & Peace similarly ranks Germany within the high impact (dark orange) zone in terms of ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2022 Global Terrorism Index. Germany ranks 35th, sitting in between France (34th) and Nepal (36th).

Meanwhile, the World Happiness Report 2023 which displays the Ranking of Happiness based on a three-year-average 2020–2022 ranks Germany 16th.

Germany’s environmental performance

What do the indices say about Germany’s environmental friendliness?

The 2022 edition of the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks Germany  13th, sitting between France (12th) and Estonia (14th). The EPI analyzes the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Germany has experienced a change in score of positive 2.2.

Last updated in November 2023. More country profiles here.

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