Vienna retains top spot for expat quality of life

European cities continue to dominate the top 10 places in Mercer's annual Quality of Living City survey, with Vienna topping the poll for the seventh year running.

Gloriette de Schloß Schönbrunn, Austria
Based on an analysis that includes such factors as the political, economic and social environment, health and education standards, recreation facilities and housing, the survey - compiled by the global HR company as a guide to multinationals and expatriates - has seven European cities in the top 10.Auckland, Vancouver and Sydney (in 3rd, 5th and 10th places respectively) are the only non-European cities in the first 10 which, after Vienna, comprises Zurich (2), Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8) and Copenhagen (9)."Quality of living standards remain high across European cities, making them attractive destinations for multinational businesses and their employees," said Ellyn Karetnick, head of Mercer's international mobility practice in the UK."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."The latter undoubtedly explains why Baghdad came last in the list of 230 cities, just behind Damascus, and problems surrounding personal safety accounted for the low rankings of several Latin America and Caribbean cities.Mercer's survey also identifies the personal safety ranking for the cities, with Luxembourg topping this list followed by Bern, Helsinki and Zurich tying 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."Multinational companies need accurate data and objective methods to determine the cost implications of deteriorating living standards and personal safety issues when compensating expatriates."In Asia, Singapore was the highest ranking city overall in 26th place, while Hong Kong only made it to 70th spot and Beijing ranked 118th.London, in 39th place, was the highest ranking UK city. While it scored highly for recreation and culture, education, shopping and airport connectivity, London was pulled down the table by such factors as air pollution, climate and traffic congestion.In the US, San Francisco (28) was ranked best for quality of living, followed by Boston (34), Honolulu (35), Chicago (43) and New York (44). Dubai, in 75th place, retained its ranking as the highest for quality of living across Africa and the Middle East, followed by Abu Dhabi (81) and Port Louis (83) in Mauritius.Mercer said that Vienna had come top of the rankings because "it scores highly in a number of categories; it provides a safe and stable environment to live in, a high level of public utilities and transport facilities, and good recreational facilities".Zurich came second because of its place as an economic and cultural hub, while Auckland scored well because of a well-balanced economy, idyllic environment, and high levels of personal safety."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."Top Mercer Quality of Life rankings:
  1. Vienna Austria
  2. Zurich Switzerland
  3. Auckland New Zealand
  4. Munich Germany
  5. Vancouver Canada
  6. Dusseldorf Germany
  7. Frankfurt Germany
  8. Geneva Switzerland
  9. Copenhagen Denmark
  10. Sydney Australia
  11. Amsterdam Netherlands
  12. Wellington New Zealand
  13. Berlin Germany
  14. Bern Switzerland
  15. Toronto Canada
  16. Melbourne Australia
  17. Ottawa Canada
  18. Hamburg Germany
  19. Luxembourg Luxembourg
  20. Stockholm Sweden
  21. Brussels Belgium
  22. Perth Australia
  23. Montreal Canada
  24. Stuttgart Germany
  25. Nurnberg Germany
  26. Singapore Singapore
  27. Adelaide Australia
  28. San Francisco US
  29. Canberra Australia
  30. Helsinki Finland
  31. Oslo Norway
  32. Calgary Canada
  33. Dublin Ireland
  34. Boston US
  35. Honolulu US
  36. Brisbane Australia
  37. Paris France
  38. Lyon France
  39. Barcelona Spain
  40. London UK
  41. Milan Italy
  42. Lisbon Portugal
  43. Chicago US
  44. New York US
  45. Tokyo Japan
  46. Seattle US
  47. Kobe Japan
  48. Edinburgh UK
  49. Los Angeles US
  50. Yokohama Japan
  51. Washington DC US

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