Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vienna Tops In Living Quality, S'pore Improves Ranking

Source : The Business Times, April 29, 2009

Mercer has released the findings of its annual quality-of-living survey, showing Vienna, Zurich and Geneva to be the top three cities to live in.

Vienna managed to oust Zurich from the top spot in this year's survey, due in part to improvements in Austria's political and social environment.

The city also led Europe in a strong showing - the top 10 list was largely dominated by German and Swiss cities, with most of them retaining their rankings from the previous year.

The Asia-Pacific region also had its bright sparks.

Ranked at 26, Singapore led all Asian cities by a comfortable margin, with Tokyo being the next highest- ranked city at 35.

Up six places from the previous survey, Singapore was also Asia-Pacific's biggest mover.

This was attributed to the development of Singapore as a key financial centre as well as the many international and private schools available to the expatriate community.

Singapore's infrastructure was also deemed a cut above the rest. Factoring in essentials like electricity supply, water availability and traffic congestion, Singapore emerged at the top of this index, beating out Munich and Copenhagen.

Aimed at helping governments and major companies decide deployment destinations for employees, the survey could also help companies streamline costs, said Cathy Loose, Asia-Pacific global mobility leader with Mercer's information product solutions.

'As a result of the current financial crisis, multinational companies are looking to review their international assignment policies with a view to cutting costs,' said Ms Loose.

'Many companies plan to reduce the number of medium to long-term international assignments and localise their expatriate compensation packages where possible, although the hardship allowance, based on quality-of-living criteria, will remain an essential component of the package.'

Two hundred and fifteen cities were considered for this survey, with New York City being used as the base with an index score of 100.

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