The global HR company collated analysis that included factors such as the political and economic standing of a country. It also involved social environment, health and education standards. The survey is used as a guide to multinationals and expatriates.
Auckland, Vancouver and Sydney are the only non-European cities in the top ten, ranking 3rd, 5th and 10th respectively. The remaining places went to Zurich (2), Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8) and Copenhagen (9).
Zurich came second because of its place as an economic and cultural hub. Auckland scored well because of a well-balanced economy, idyllic environment, and high levels of personal safety.
Ellyn Karetnick, head of Mercer’s international mobility practice in the UK, comments: “Quality of living standards remain high across European cities, making them attractive destinations for multinational businesses and their employees. In Europe and beyond, terrorist attacks and incidences of civil unrest are closely monitored and analysed, and any impact on quality of living for expatriates is reflected in the rankings.”
Karetnick’s statement undoubtedly explains why Baghdad came last in the list of 230 cities. Damascus also shared similar rankings to Baghdad. Issues in personal safety saw low rankings for several Latin America and Caribbean cities.
The city in 1st place for personal safety was Luxembourg. Bern, Helsinki and Zurich all tied for second place.
“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centres around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenge facing multinational companies when analysing the safety and health of their expatriate workforces,” said Ilya Bonic, president of Mercer’s talent business.
Singapore was the highest ranked country in Asia, sitting in 26th place. Hong Kong and Beijing didn’t make it into the top 50, settling at 70th and 118th spots.
The highest ranked UK city was London, in 39th place. The city scored highly for shopping, airport connectivity and culture. However, air pollution, climate, and traffic congestion let the city down.
“Ensuring that the needs of expatriates and their families are met wherever work takes them is an essential part of talent retention and recruitment strategies for most multinationals,” said Slagin Parakatil, Mercer principal responsible for the quality-of-living research. “Managing safety and health issues is of utmost importance, especially for employees who relocate with a family. Our surveys enable companies to take adequate precautions for them.”
“Other elements that add to safety costs in the host location are obtaining suitable and well secured accommodation; having an in-house comprehensive expatriate security programme and providing access to reputable professional evacuation services and medical support firms, and finally, providing security training and guarded office premises.”