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Australia falls from top 10 Quality of Living ranking

March 14, 2019 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

While the quality of living in Australian cities still rank highly, leading Australian city Sydney has fallen from top 10 to 11th place, with increasing traffic congestion to blame, according to Mercer’s 21st annual Quality of Living survey.Globally, Vienna tops the ranking for the 10th year running, closely followed by Zurich (2). In joint third place are Auckland, Munich and Vancouver. European cities continue to dominate the world’s top 20. Despite still featuring at the bottom of the quality of living list, Baghdad (231) has witnessed significant improvements related to both safety and health services.

One of the most comprehensive of its type, Mercer’s survey assesses the living standards for expatriates in cities worldwide. It enables organisations to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

The survey saw Melbourne fall from 16th to 17th; Perth (21), Adelaide (29) and Canberra (30) retain their rankings; and Brisbane jump from 37th to 35th place.

Mercer’s Global Mobility Leader for Pacific Karla Costa said while Australia’s high quality of life was a clear competitive advantage in attracting international talent, there was room for improvement.

“While safety, climate, medical and health services, and quality housing are among Australia’s many strengths, low scores in the areas of traffic congestion and availability of international flights are letting us down, resulting in lower than expected results,” said Ms Costa.

“In a time when workforce demands are rapidly changing with highly mobile talent and increased flexibility to meet the career and lifestyle aspirations of today’s workers, companies must now more than ever factor in to their value proposition the quality of life they can provide to their expatriate employees,” she said.

“Strong, on-the-ground capabilities are integral to the global operations of most international businesses and are in large part driven by the personal and professional wellbeing of the individuals that companies place in those locations,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Career business.

“Companies looking to expand overseas have a host of considerations when identifying where best to locate staff and new offices. The key is relevant, reliable data and standardised measurement, which are essential for employers to make critical decisions, from deciding where to establish offices to determining how to distribute, house and remunerate their global workforces,” Mr Bonic said.

This year, Mercer provides a separate ranking on personal safety, which analyses cities’ internal stability, crime levels, law enforcement, limitations on personal freedom, relationships with other countries and freedom of the press.

Major Australian cities ranked well in personal safety, with Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney sharing 24th place, and Adelaide and Brisbane in joint 48th place. Western Europe dominates the rankings, with Luxembourg named as the safest city in the world. Damascus had the lowest personal safety ranking, at 231st place.

Ms Costa said personal safety is the cornerstone of stability in any city, without which business and talent cannot thrive.

“The security of the individual is informed by a wide range of factors and is constantly in flux, as the
circumstances and conditions in cities and countries change year over year. These factors are crucial for multinationals to consider when sending employees abroad because they consider any concerns around the expat’s own safety and can have a significant impact on the cost of international compensation programmes,” she said.

Regional breakdown Europe
European cities continue to have the highest quality of living in the world, with Vienna (1), Zurich (2) and Munich
(3) not only ranking first, second and third in Europe, but also globally. As many as 13 of the  orld’s top 20 spots were taken by European cities. The major European capitals of Berlin (13), Paris (39) and London (41) remained static in the rankings this year, while Madrid (46) rose three places and Rome (56) climbed one. Minsk (188), Tirana (175) and St. Petersburg (174) remained the lowest ranking cities in Europe this year, while Sarajevo (156) rose three places due to a fall in reported crime.

The safest city in Europe was Luxembourg (1), followed by Basel, Bern, Helsinki and Zurich in joint second.

Moscow (200) and St. Petersburg (197) were Europe’s least safe cities this year. The biggest fallers in Western Europe between 2005 and 2019 were Brussels (47), due to recent terrorist attacks, and Athens (102), reflecting its slow recovery from economic and political upheaval following the global financial crisis.

Americas
In North America, Canadian cities continue to score highest with Vancouver (3) ranking highest for overall quality of living, as well as sharing the top spot with Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary for safety. All US cities covered in the analysis fell in the rankings this year, with Washington DC (53) the biggest faller. The exception was New York (44), rising one place as crime rates in the city continue to fall. Detroit remains the US city with the lowest quality of living this year, with the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince (228) the lowest in all the Americas.

Internal stability issues and public demonstrations in Nicaragua meant that Managua (180) fell seven places in the quality of living ranking this year, and ongoing cartel-related violence and high crime rates meant that Mexico, Monterrey (113) and Mexico City (129) also remained low.

In South America, Montevideo (78) again ranked the highest for quality of living, whilst continued instability saw Caracas (202) fall another nine places this year for quality of living and 48 places for safety to 222nd place, making it the least safe city in the Americas. The quality of living remained broadly unchanged from last year in other key cities, including Buenos Aires (91), Santiago (93) and Rio de Janeiro (118).

Middle East and Africa
Dubai (74) continues to rank highest for quality of living across the Middle East, closely followed by Abu Dhabi (78); whereas Sana’a (229) and Baghdad (231) rank lowest in the region. The opening of new recreational facilities as part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 Vision saw Riyadh (164) climb one place this year, and a decline in its crime rate and a lack of terrorist incidents over the last 12 months saw Istanbul (130) rise four places. The Middle East’s safest cities are Dubai (73) and Abu Dhabi (73). Damascus (231) is the least safe city, both in the Middle East and the world.

In Africa, Port Louis (83) was the city with the best quality of living and also its safest (59). It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban (88), Cape Town (95) and Johannesburg (96), though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town falling one place this year. Conversely, Bangui (230) scored the lowest for the continent and also ranked lowest for personal safety (230).

Gambia’s progress toward a democratic political system and improved international relations and human rights meant that Banjul (179) had the most improved quality of living in Africa, but also in
the world, rising six places this year.

Asia-Pacific
In Asia, Singapore (25) has the highest quality of living, followed by the five Japanese cities of Tokyo (49), Kobe (49), Yokohama (55), Osaka (58), and Nagoya (62), and then Hong Kong (71) and Seoul (77), which rose two places this year as political stability returned following the arrest of its president last year. In South East Asia, other notable cities include Kuala Lumpur (85), Bangkok (133), Manila (137), and Jakarta (142); and in mainland China: Shanghai (103), Beijing (120), Guangzhou (122) and Shenzhen (132). Of all the cities in East and South East Asia, Singapore (30) ranked the highest in Asia and Phnom Penh (199) the lowest, for personal safety.

Safety continues to be an issue in the central Asian cities of Almaty (181), Tashkent (201), Ashgabat (206), Dushanbe (209) and Bishkek (211).

In Southern Asia, the Indian cities of New Delhi (162), Mumbai (154) and Bengaluru (149) remained unchanged from last year’s ranking for overall quality of living, with Colombo (138) topping the ranking. In 105th place, Chennai ranks as the region’s safest city, while Karachi (226) is the least safe.

New Zealand and Australia continue to rank highly in quality of living, with Auckland (3), Sydney (11), Wellington (15), and Melbourne (17) all remaining in the top 20. Australia’s major cities all rank within the top 50 for safety, with Auckland and Wellington topping the safety ranking for Oceania in joint 9th place.

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