Employment Abroad: Expatriate Quality of Living Highest in Europe, Survey Finds

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By Rick Vollmar

March 5—If you're posting employees abroad, they're likely to be happiest if you send them to Vienna, Zurich, Auckland, Munich or Vancouver, least happy if they're assigned to Baghdad, Port au Prince, Khartoum or Damascus, according to Mercer's latest Quality of Living survey of 230 cities worldwide, released March 4.

“European cities dominate the top of the ranking along with major cities in Australia and New Zealand,” Mercer said in its press release announcing the survey results. “Vancouver is the highest-ranking city in North America and the region’s only city in the top 10. Singapore is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai ranks first across the Middle East and Africa. Montevideo in Uruguay takes the top spot for South America.”

‘Exciting and Challenging'

“Taking a short- or long-term work assignment in a new country is both an exciting and challenging experience for employees and their families,” Mercer principal Slagin Parakatil said in the release. “Cultures, societies, and comparatively different climates, as well as political instability, high crime rates, and poor infrastructure can be difficult to navigate and settle down in for employees and their families. Employers need to assess whether their staff and families will encounter any drop in quality of living when relocating and ensure they are fairly compensated for it.”

Western European cities account for seven of the top 10 in the Mercer survey: Vienna (1), Zurich (2), Munich (4), Düsseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8) and Copenhagen (9). Rounding out the top 10 are Auckland in third place, Sydney in 10th and Vancouver in fifth. San Francisco is the highest-rated U.S. city in 27th place overall, followed by Boston (34), Honolulu (36), Chicago (43) and New York City and Seattle (in a three-way tie with Tokyo for 44th place).

To contact the reporter on this story: Rick Vollmar at rvollmar@bna.com

The Mercer press release is available at http://www.uk.mercer.com/newsroom/2015-quality-of-living-survey.html.