Market research firm Strategy One provided a GE Innovation Barometer suggesting that global executives are not convinced that Australia can provide sufficient innovation for its firms - it was ranked 16th out of 30 countries for its capabilities in this area.

Furthermore, some 31 per cent of Australian executives felt the country has not improved its innovation environment over the last five years.

Michael Ackland, vice-president of strategy and growth for GE in Australia and New Zealand, said the challenge for the country was to compete with its global rivals over the coming years.

"The research identifies industry, innovation, higher education and research as key productivity drivers to focus our efforts around," he added.

Prime minister Julia Gillard recently rolled out new laws aimed at ending any confusion over executive pay levels in the country.

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