By Corina Oliquino
FilAm Star Correspondent
In the recent Mercer Quality of Living ranking released last February, Manila has kept its 2015 ranking at 136th.
According to Mercer’s 18th annual Quality of Living Survey, personal safety is a key factor for multinationals in sending their expats to work abroad, adding that this concern will have a significant impact on the “cost of global compensation programs.”
“Heightened domestic and global security threats, population displacement resulting from violence, and social unrest in key business centers around the world are all elements adding to the complex challenge facing multinational companies when analyzing the safety and health of their expatriate workforces,” Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Talent business said in a press statement.
In its report, Mercer ranked European countries like Vienna as the highest in overall quality of living, Luxembourg as the highest for personal safety and London in 39th place in overall quality of living in UK and 72nd in personal safety.
Baghdad in Iraq ranks lowest in personal safety, according to Mercer’s report.
“Multinational companies need accurate data and objective methods to determine the cost implications of deteriorating living standards and personal safety issues when compensating expatriates,” Bonic added.
Mercer’s survey scoped over 440 cities around the world and 230 cities among these were included for this year’s ranking.
According to Mercer, its survey is conducted annually to provide multinational companies and employers to fairly compensate their employees when assigning them abroad.
Based on the Mercer quality-of-living report, an employee incentive will include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium.
“Ensuring that the needs of expatriates and their families are met wherever work takes them is an essential part of talent retention and recruitment strategies for most multinationals,” Slagin Parakatil, principal at Mercer and responsible for the quality-of-living research said in a press statement released.
“Managing safety and health issues is of utmost importance, especially for employees who relocate with a family. Our surveys enable companies to take adequate precautions for them,” Parakatil added.
Philippines and Asia-Pacific
Mercer’s survey ranked Asian countries on its considerable variation in quality of living with Singapore ranking highest in the Southeast Asia region at 26th followed by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (86th).
Other cities included in the quality of living ranking in Asia were Bangkok at 129th and Jakarta at 142ndwhile Philippines ranked at 136th, the same spot it was ranked by Mercer last year.
In East Asia, cities in Japan like Tokyo ranked the highest at 44th place while other key cities included in the survey were Hong Kong (70th), Taipei (84th), Shanghai (101th) and Beijing (118th).
Dhaka in Bangladesh however ranked the lowest in quality of living at 214th.
Mercer also ranked Asian countries in terms of ‘personal safety’ and according to them, ‘it varies greatly.’
Singapore remains in the highest rank when it comes to personal safety at 8th overall and followed by five Japanese cities such as Kobe, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo and Yokohama at 32nd place and are all tied.
Hong Kong ranked 37th followed by other Asian cities like Taipei (78th), Beijing (97th), Seoul (115th), New Delhi (142nd) and Jakarta (172nd).
For personal safety, Bangkok with its series of political unrest and terrorist attacks in several of its tourist spots in the last few years consequently ranked it 173rd this year.
In addition, Mercer also explained that each of the 440 cities surveyed worldwide were evaluated through local living conditions and analyzed through the use of the 39 factors grouped into 10 categories, namely:
1. Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.).
2. Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services).
3. Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom).
4. Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc.).
5. Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools).
6. Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.).
7. Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc.).
8. Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc.).
9. Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services).
10. Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters).
Mercer disclosed that the survey was done between September and November 2015.