Sydney is top 10 for quality

March 19, 2017

Sydney has again been named as the best city in Australia and the 10th best in the world for expats to work and live.

No other Australian city made the top 10 in Mercer’s 2017 Quality of Living survey, though Auckland held on to its number three global ranking. The survey, designed to help companies fairly compensate employees for international assignments, covers more than 450 cities throughout the world. This year’s ranking includes 231 of these cities. 

Both Australia and New Zealand are regarded as a highly desirable and low-risk place to live, but both fall well behind Europe, where despite increased political and financial volatility cities offer the world’s highest quality of living.

The Austrian capital of Vienna took out the top spot for the eighth year in a row, and Switzerland’s largest city, Zurich, came in second followed by Munich in fourth place, while Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva and Copenhagen fill positions six to nine. Newcomer to the list Basel, in Switzerland’s north-west, shared 10th spot with Sydney.

Vancouver, which ranked in fifth place, was the only other non-European city to make the top 10.

At the other end of the spectrum, Baghdad in Iraq took at the unenviable title as having the lowest quality of living for expat workers.

Top 10 cities

The annual survey, designed to help companies fairly compensate employees for international assignments, considers factors like a city’s political stability, crime levels, economic environment, personal and cultural freedom, health services, standard of education, transportation, housing and environment.

Lorraine Jennings, Mercer’s Global Mobility leader in Australia and New Zealand says our cities rank amongst the best in the world due to safety, cultural diversity, a skilled local workforce and robust infrastructure.

“There is room for improvement in the rankings though,” Jennings says. “Traffic congestion in Melbourne and Auckland as well as low scores on the availability of international flights and international schools contributed to lower-than-expected results in both countries.”

Infrastructure - how we rank?

This year’s survey paid particular attention to city infrastructure, and Sydney was the only city in Australia or New Zealand to feature in the top 10. Perth ranked 32nd for infrastructure, Melbourne 34th, Brisbane 37th and Auckland down the list at 43rd.

Singapore topped the infrastructure rankings, followed by Frankfurt and Munich both in second place. Baghdad (230) and Port au Prince (231) rank last.

Mercer’s lead researcher for the Quality of Living survey, Slagin Parakatil, says a city’s infrastructure – or lack of it – can considerably affect the quality of living that expatriates and their families experience on a daily basis.

“Access to a variety of transport options, being connected locally and internationally and access to electricity and drinkable water are among the essential needs of expatriates arriving in a new location on assignment,” Parakatil says. “A well-developed infrastructure can also be a key competitive advantage for cities trying to attract multinational companies, talent, and foreign investments.” 

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