Mercer, a consulting firm, recently published it’s 2016 quality of life ranking of 230 cities around the world. Both Zurich and Geneva made the global top ten. But what puts Zurich second, six places ahead of Geneva at number eight?
The survey is used by multinational companies to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Employee incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and quality of living surveys help companies decide on hardship premiums. This survey looks only at quality of life. Differences in the cost of living, such as rent, taxes and the cost of a sushi lunch are considered separately in a survey that Mercer publishes in June.
Mercer’s 2015 Cost of Living Survey put Zurich and Geneva in the top 10 most costly. Geneva and Zurich are expensive but you at least get some quality of life for your money. Some others in 2015’s ten most expensive are far from the top ten on quality of life. Luanda, Angola, the most expensive in 2015 ranked a lowly 199 for quality of life this year. Beijing (7) and Shanghai (6), ranked near the top on cost, were also far from the top ten on quality of life: Beijing (118) and Shanghai (101).
Geneva versus Zurich on quality of life
In 2016, both cities score well across the board. However there are differences in specific areas. The largest differences are in transport and recreation. Zurich’s airport, an international hub, beats Geneva’s for flights beyond Europe. Zurich also scores extra points for its better recreational facilities and it’s ability to attract global performers. There were also small differences between the two on personal safety. Here Zurich ranked second while Geneva came sixth.
Zurich has been ahead of Geneva for many years. The closest Geneva came to its eastern rival, was third in 2010, just behind Zurich in second place. The score differences between the top ten are small however. Slagin Parakatil of Mercer told Le News “Geneva decreased slightly in comparison to 2010…” Adding that “these two locations would not trigger any specific hardship allowance for an international assignment.”
The global top ten
The top ten cities have not changed much for several years. Vienna and Zurich have held first and second places for several years.
Vienna provides the world’s highest quality of life. Bagdad offers the worst. New York, London and Paris do not even make the top 30. Some scores get dragged down by poor personal safety, especially following terrorist attacks and political unrest. Examples include Paris (71), London (72), Madrid (84), Athens (124) and Kiev (189). In north America, Canadian cities all rank well for personal safety, whereas no US cities make the top 50.
Mercer’s latest overall 2016 global city ranking is:
1. Vienna – Austria
2. Zurich – Switzerland
3. Auckland – New Zealand
4. Munich – Germany
5. Vancouver – Canada
6. Dusseldorf – Germany
7. Frankfurt – Germany
8. Geneva – Switzerland
9. Copenhagen -Denmark
10. Sydney – Australia
Switzerland and Germany are the only nations with more than one city in the top ten.