A worker unloads a truck at Durban harbour. Picture: REUTERS
A worker unloads a truck at Durban harbour. Picture: REUTERS

SKILLED professionals would rather work in Durban than anywhere else in Africa‚ except for the Mauritius capital of Port Louis.

Africa is far down the choice destinations around the world‚ however‚ according to the Mercer’s 18th annual Quality of Living survey.

Mercer’s authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive‚ and is conducted to enable employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. This year’s ranking measured 230 countries.

In the Middle East and Africa region‚ Dubai (75) ranked highest for quality of living‚ followed by Abu Dhabi (81) and Port Louis (83) in Mauritius.

The South African cities of Durban‚ Cape Town‚ and Johannesburg rank 85th‚ 92nd‚ and 95th respectively.

Durban has held the same ranking (85) since 2014‚ when it was identified by Mercer as an example of an emerging city in Africa‚ due to the growth of its manufacturing industries and the increasing importance of the shipping port. Cape Town has slipped two places from the 2014 ranking.

Safety‚ in particular‚ is a key factor for multinationals to consider when sending expatriate workers abroad‚ both because it raises concerns about the expat’s personal safety and because it has a significant effect on the cost of global compensation programmes.

Only a handful of cities in the Middle East and Africa region place in the top 100 for personal safety, with Abu Dhabi ranking highest in 23rd place‚ followed by Muscat (29)‚ Dubai (40)‚ and Port Louis (59). The upcoming host of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, Doha‚ ranks 70th for personal safety.

Mercer states: "Regional geopolitics is highly volatile and characterised by safety concerns‚ political turmoil‚ and an elevated risk of terrorism. The lowest-ranking cities in the region are Damascus (229) and Baghdad (230)‚ both of which have witnessed continual violence and terrorist attacks that weigh upon the daily life of locals and expatriates."

Baghdad ranks lowest regionally and worldwide.

Vienna ranks the highest in overall quality of living‚ followed by Zurich (2)‚ Auckland (3) and Munich (4). Vancouver (5) is North America’s highest ranking city‚ and Singapore is the highest ranking Asian city‚ holding 26th place.

Mercer’s survey also identifies the personal safety ranking for the full list of cities; it is based on internal stability‚ crime figures‚ performance of local law enforcement‚ and the home country’s relationship with other countries.

Despite recent security issues‚ the flood of refugees from Syria‚ social unrest and concern about Europe’s economic outlook‚ the region’s cities continue to offer some of the world’s highest quality of living‚ according to Mercer.

Luxembourg tops the personal safety list and is followed by Bern‚ Helsinki‚ and Zurich — all tied in second place.

London ranks 39th in overall quality of living in UK but drops to 72nd in personal safety. The safest UK cities are Aberdeen‚ Edinburgh and Glasgow — all ranked in 44th place.

TMG Digital