MILWAUKEE, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN), the world leader in innovative workforce solutions and strategic World Economic Forum (WEF) partner, advocates that businesses, governments and academic leaders more cohesively strategize how to enable women to build sustainable careers, as the WEF reported this week that the world economic gender gap now stands at 60%, up 1 percentage point from 2011. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110330/CG73938LOGO-a) Nordic countries rank the highest in the seventh annual WEF Global Economic Gender Gap Report. Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have closed over 80% of their economic gender gaps since 2011. More than half of the 135 economies surveyed, however, have failed to close this gap by more than 5% in the past seven years. The index assesses how countries divide their resources and opportunities among males and females, regardless of levels of resources and opportunities. Countries that have successfully worked at closing their economic gender gaps typically represent strong regional economies. Gap ratings are based on four indicators: access to healthcare, access to education, political participation and economic equality. As women account for half of a country's talent pipeline, a nation's long-term competitiveness depends significantly on if and how it educates and positions women for career success. "Only extensive public-private collaboration can help remove the barriers to creating a diverse, sustainable, flexible and highly-skilled workforce," said Jeff Joerres, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. "The dynamic workforces that countries need to accelerate their economic and social growth tracts across decades must represent all individuals in a country who want to work." In the Human Age, companies are struggling to identify skilled talent. If qualified women are unable to apply for jobs because of gender-specific barriers, companies will unlikely be able to sustain their talent pipeline and fulfill their business objectives. Public and private stakeholders in a regional workforce must collaborate in providing women with skills training that companies demand and the long-term career planning that will anchor women in the workforce.