Vancouver places fifth in a new global ranking of cities based on quality of living, with three other Canadian cities appearing in the top 25: Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal rank 16th, 18th and 23rd, respectively. HR consultancy Mercer publishes its annual Quality of Living ranking to help employers identify cities that are likely to attract top business talent—or to structure compensation for employees in places that don’t make the list.
“The way multinational corporations use our data is to accommodate for some hardship allowances,” explains Allison Griffiths, a principal with Mercer in Canada. “If you’re moving an employee to a city that doesn’t have a great quality of living, you need to adequately compensate them for that.”
Mercer uses 39 factors, grouped into 10 categories, to rank 450 cities throughout the world. “The top three weighted criteria are political and social environment, medical and health considerations, and public services and transport,” explains Griffiths, adding that criteria cover factors such as ease of entry and exit, air pollution, and risk of disease. “Vancouver’s obviously a pretty desirable city,” she says, “It ranks highly on almost all of our criteria.”
The company ranked infrastructure separately, noting that easy access to transportation, reliable electricity, and drinkable water are all important considerations when it comes to employee placement. Vancouver again ranked high, tying for ninth place with Hamburg and Zurich, while Montreal came in at 14, and Toronto at 17.
The highest ranked city overall was Vienna, for the eighth year in a row. The highest ranked U.S. city was San Francisco, at 39.
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