| Azlan Othman |
BANDAR Seri Begawan has the third highest quality of living in Southeast Asia, according to human resources consulting firm Mercer’s 20th annual Quality of Living survey.
The Brunei capital has come in 23rd in the Asia-Pacific and 106th globally in the ranking released this week which looked at which cities around the world provide the best standard of living.
Bandar Seri Begawan slipped two notches compared to last year when it stood at 104th place.
The rankings are based on individual surveys conducted in each city and are revised to reflect significant political, economic, and environmental developments.
In the survey, living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories: Political and social environment; Economic environment; Socio-cultural environment; Medical and health considerations; Schools and education; Public services and transportation; Recreation; Consumer goods; Housing and Natural environment.
Singapore has retained its position as the Asian city with the highest quality of living and 25th globally. Kuala Lumpur came in second and 85th globally.
Using data analysed largely between September and November last year, the annual ranking tracked 231 cities to enable multinational companies and other organisations to compensate employees fairly on international assignments.
“The best livable cities can attract executives in multinational businesses,” said Mario Ferraro, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for Asia, Middle East, Africa and Turkey.
Despite economic volatility in Europe due to uncertainty around Brexit as well as increased political volatility in the region overall, many of its cities still offer the world’s highest quality of living and continue to remain attractive destinations for expatriates on assignment, according to Mercer.
Cities in emerging markets, though challenged by economic and political turmoil, are catching up with top-ranking cities following decades of investing in infrastructure, recreational facilities and housing, to attract talent and multinational businesses, it added.
Vienna tops the ranking for the ninth year running and is followed by Zurich, with Auckland and Munich in joint third place.
Vancouver completes the top five and is the highest ranking city in North America, while Singapore (25) and Montevideo (77) are the highest ranking cities in Asia and Latin America respectively.
“With increasing globalisation and changing demographics of the workforce – attracting and retaining the right talent is set to be one of the key challenges for businesses over the next five years,” said Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Career business.
“An increasingly diverse workforce is both more mobile and digital with highly diverging requirements and aspirations in terms of career, lifestyle and ultimately where and how they want to work.
“Companies need to consider these factors in their value proposition to both their local and their expatriate employees.”
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 on relative quality of living, Mercer’s surveys provide hardship premium recommendations for more than 450 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking included 231 of these cities.
This year, Mercer has provided a separate ranking on City Sanitation, which analyses cities’ waste removal and sewage infrastructure, levels of infectious disease, air pollution, water availability and quality – all important aspects of a city’s attractiveness for both talent and businesses.
Honolulu tops the city sanitation ranking, followed by Helsinki and Ottawa in joint second, whereas Dhaka (230) and Port au Prince (231) fill the bottom places.