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Gulf cities rank low in quality of living survey

London, June 11, 2008

Despite the enormous government investment in infrastructure, health and sanitation, Gulf cities rank low in quality of living, according to a global survey.

European cities dominate the worldwide rankings of locations with the best quality of living, according to Mercer’s 2008 Quality of Living survey. Zurich retains its 2007 title as the highest ranked city, followed jointly by Vienna (2), Geneva (2), then Vancouver (4) and Auckland (5).

The Middle East region's cities with the best quality of living are Dubai with a ranking of 83 and Abu Dhabi with 87.

Baghdad (215) is the city with the world’s lowest quality of living and lowest levels of personal safety, while Sanaa in Yemen ranks 207.

In the UK, London ranks 38, while Birmingham and Glasgow are jointly 56. The highest entry for the United States is Honolulu, appearing at number 28. The cities with the lowest quality of living ranking are Ndjamena (211), Khartoum (212), Brazzaville (213) and Bangui (214). 

The rankings are based on a point scoring index, which sees Zurich scoring 108, while Baghdad scores 13.5. Cities are compared to New York as the base city, with an index score of 100. The quality of living survey covers 215 cities and is conducted to help governments and major companies place employees on international assignments.  

The survey also identifies those cities with the highest personal safety ranking based on internal stability, crime, effectiveness of law enforcement and relationships with other countries.

Luxembourg is top, followed by Bern, Geneva, Helsinki and Zurich, all equally placed at number 2. Chicago, Houston and San Francisco are amongst the safest cities in the US, all ranking at 53. Baghdad (215) is the world’s least safe city along with Kinshasa (214), Karachi (213), Nairobi (212) and Bangui (211). Luxembourg scores 131.4 on the index while Baghdad scores 3.8.

In personal safety, the Gulf cities rank higher. Abu Dhabi with a ranking of 33 is the region’s best city for personal safety, followed by Dubai (47). Manama ranks 118.

According to Slagin Parakatil, senior researcher at Mercer, “Businesses face constant challenges in identifying new markets, expanding operations and acquiring and strategically deploying resources. Establishing suitable allowances linked to local costs and quality of living is essential in encouraging expatriate employees with transferable skills to accept international assignments.

“Several regions of the Middle East have benefited enormously from government investment in infrastructure, health and sanitation and are rising up the rankings. However, personal safety and political tensions remain stumbling blocks and account for the low ranking of many of the region’s cities. Multinationals often compensate for this by increasing compensation levels and other benefits for their employees,” said Parakatil.

He added: “Personal and family safety is of paramount importance when employees consider opportunities overseas. Cities that are, or are perceived as, unsafe may experience difficulties in attracting the best people and skills,” he said. - TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Mercer | Quality of Living |

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