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| 1 minute read

Is talent geographically borderless?

Two of the biggest elements that determine whether an expat assignment will get accepted by an employee are compensation and location. The location of an expatriate assignment could be a deal breaker for some employees depending on what the destination location has to offer. Recently, two reports have come out that speak to the most attractive locations around the world for expatriate employees.  

Considering the best locations:

The Expat Insider City Rankings 2018 annually rates the best and worst cities for expats. This fifth edition of the survey is produced by InterNations and is one of the world's largest and most comprehensive surveys of life abroad. This is a direct survey to individual expats. This past year there were over 18,000 expats living in 187 countries that participated. Participants were also asked to rate more than 25 different aspects of urban life abroad on a scale of one to seven. The rating process emphasized the expat's personal satisfaction with these different aspects. The individual factor ratings were bundled together in various combinations for a total of 13 subcategories, and their mean values were used to draw up four topical indices: quality of urban living, getting settled, urban work life and finance & housing. Asia dominated the top rankings with the top five cities being:

  1. Taipei, Taiwan
  2. Singapore
  3. Manama, Bahrain
  4. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
  5. Bangkok, Thailand

The AIRINC Global 150 Cities Index looks at attributes related to overall attractiveness by considering specific elements of lifestyle and finance. This index combines local salary levels, tax rates, living costs and living conditions to assess how appealing each location is to live in. Embedded into the financial metrics are housing, cost-of-living items and taxes. Lifestyle metrics consider things like safety, security, education and pollution. The top five global cities from this survey were dominated by Europe and were:

  1. Zurich, Switzerland
  2. Geneva, Switzerland
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Munich, Germany
  5. Vienna, Austria

Considering the worst locations:

While those are each interesting in their own respects, they also did score the bottom of the list. In the first report from InterNations, the bottom five cities were:

  • Riyadh
  • Jeddah
  • Rome
  • Stockholm
  • London

The bottom five cities from the AIRINC Global 150 Cities Index were:

  • Port Moresby, P.N.G.
  • Port au Prince, Haiti
  • Blantyre, Malawi
  • Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Maputo, Mozambique
Despite the current political headwinds blowing against globalization, companies continue to recruit talent from around the world and talented people continue to want overseas work experience. For firms, it’s become imperative to look beyond geographic borders to attract and retain top talent. This is partly due to the fact that 77% of CEOs report being concerned about the availability of key skills, according to PwC. Seventy-seven percent also agree or strongly agree that they move talent to where they need it.


top cities, finance, tax, cost of living, quality of life, safety, security, bottom cities, airinc, internations, pollution, education, housing, expatriate management, expatriate experience