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Despite economic volatility in Europe due to uncertainty around Brexit as well as increased political volatility in the region overall, many of its cities still offer the world’s highest quality of living and continue to remain attractive destinations for expatriates on assignment, according to Mercer’s 20th annual Quality of Living survey.
Cities in emerging markets, though challenged by economic and political turmoil, are catching up with top ranking cities following decades of investing in infrastructure, recreational facilities and housing in order to attract talent and multinational businesses.
Vienna tops the ranking for the 9th year running and is followed by Zurich (2), Auckland and Munich in joint 3rd place. In 5th place Vancouver completes the top five and is the highest ranking city in North America. Singapore (25) and Montevideo (77) are the highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America respectively.
“With increasing globalisation and changing demographic of the workforce - attracting and retaining the right talent is set to be one of the key challenges for businesses over the next five years,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Career business. “An increasingly diverse workforce is both more mobile and digital with highly diverging requirements and aspirations in terms of career, lifestyle and ultimately where and how they want to work. Companies need to consider these factors in their value proposition to both their local and their expatriate employees.”
Mercer’s authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive and is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. In addition to valuable data on relative quality of living, Mercer’s surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for more than 450 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 231 of these cities.
This year, Mercer provides a separate ranking on City Sanitation, which analyses cities’ waste removal and sewage infrastructure, levels of infectious disease, air pollution, water availability and quality - all important aspects of a city’s attractiveness for both talent and businesses. Honolulu tops the City Sanitation ranking, followed by Helsinki and Ottawa in joint second, whereas Dhaka (230) and Port au Prince (231) fill the bottom places.
Vienna remains the highest ranking city in Europe and globally, providing resident and expatriates with high security, well-structured public transportation and a variety of cultural and recreation facilities. Munich jumped to 3rd position as over time the city has made a concerted effort to attract talent and businesses by continuously investing in high-tech infrastructure and promoting its cultural facilities. As a result of the terrorist attack in Stockholm (23) the city drops three places whereas Oslo (25) and Lisbon (38) increase their rankings by six and five places respectively. London remains further down the list as due to its persistent issues with traffic congestion and air pollution it drops one place to rank 41st.
“Cities in the UK continue to rank highly for quality of living, and remain attractive destinations for multinationals and their employees,” said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer’s Global Mobility Practice Leader for the UK & Ireland. “London - the highest ranked UK city - scores top marks in areas like access to public transport, and the variety and quality of theatres and restaurants, but has lower scores for air pollution and traffic congestion.
“We will continue to closely monitor the impact of ongoing Brexit negotiations and their effect on workforce and skills availability in the UK, to support multinational companies with their expatriate management programmes.”
The City Sanitation ranking sees several Nordic cities ranked among the top 10 globally, with Helsinki in 2nd and Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm all tied in 8th place.
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