PETALING JAYA, Mar 15 – Kuala Lumpur is the second top city in Asia with the best quality of living, according to Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey released on Tuesday. Singapore is ranked as the best place to live in Asia for expatriates and 25th best in the world, while KL is listed at 86th. The city republic remains the highest ranking city in the Asia-Pacific region, where there is great disparity in quality of living; Dushanbe (215) in Tajikistan ranks lowest.
In Southeast Asia, KL (86) follows Singapore; other key cities include Bangkok (131), Manila (135), and Jakarta (143). Five Japanese cities top the ranking for East Asia: Tokyo (47), Kobe (50), Yokohama (51), Osaka (60), and Nagoya (63). Other notable cities in Asia include Hong Kong (71), Seoul (76), Taipei (85), Shanghai (102), and Beijing (119).
There is also considerable regional variation in the city infrastructure ranking. The highest-ranked city is Singapore (1), whereas Dhaka (214) is near the bottom of the list. Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the eighth year running, with the rest of the top-ten list mostly filled by European cities: Zurich is in second place, with Munich (4), Dusseldorf (6), Frankfurt (7), Geneva (8), Copenhagen (9), and Basel, a newcomer to the list, in 10th place.
The only non-European cities in the top ten are Auckland (3) and Vancouver (5). The highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America are Singapore (25) and Montevideo (79), respectively. Despite increased political and financial volatility in Europe, many of its cities offer the world’s highest quality of living and remain attractive destinations for expanding business operations and sending expatriates on assignment, according to Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey.
City infrastructure, ranked separately this year, plays an important role when multinationals decide where to establish locations abroad and send expatriate workers. Easy access to transportation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when determining hardship allowances based on differences between a given assignee’s home and host locations.
“Economic instability, social unrest, and growing political upheaval all add to the complex challenge multinational companies face when analysing quality of living for their expatriate workforce,” said Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Career business.
“For multinationals and governments it is vital to have quality of living information that is accurate, detailed, and reliable. It not only enables these employers to compensate employees appropriately, but it also provides a planning benchmark and insights into the often-sensitive operational environment that surrounds their workforce.
“In uncertain times, the organisations that plan to establish themselves and send staff to a new location should ensure they get a complete picture of the city, including its viability as a business location and its attractiveness to the key talent,” Bonic added.
Mercer’s survey also includes a city infrastructure ranking that assesses each city’s supply of electricity, drinking water, telephone and mail services, and public transportation as well as traffic congestion and the range of international flights available from local airports. Singapore tops the city infrastructure ranking, followed by Frankfurt and Munich both in 2nd place. Baghdad (230) and Port au Prince (231) rank last for city infrastructure.
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, Mercer’s Quality of Living surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for over 450 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 231 of these cities.