Brazil, Canada top HR destinations

by 26 Jun 2007

Rio de Janeiro and Toronto are the cities where HR directors can earn the highest salary, yet enjoy the lowest cost of living, according to analysis of recent research.

According to two separate studies published by Mercer Human Resource Consulting – one covering HR director pay globally and one ranking cities by cost of living – the combination of salary and cost of living in Brazil and Canada comes out top.

Brazil boasts the second-highest HR director salary packages in the world with average HR director pay coming in at $274,367. Canada, meanwhile weighed in with an impressive average salary of $238,045. Moreover, no Brazilian or Canadian cities feature in the top 50 of Mercer’s worldwide cost of living survey, released earlier this month.

While Sao Paulo remains the epicentre of Brazilian commerce, Rio has the lowest cost of living ranking in Brazil at 64th globally. Toronto, meanwhile, despite being Canada’s most expensive city, comes in at 82nd in the world.

While US HR directors enjoy the top average salaries globally at $291,007, New York Cityweighs in as the world’s 15th most expensive city. London, moreover, was ranked as the second most expensive city for cost of living, yet had the fourth highest average HR director salaries.

With an increasingly competitive global market for senior HR executives, the world would appear to be the HR directors’ oyster.

“The talent market for senior executives is becoming increasingly competitive and increasingly international,” said Rob Knox, head of Mercer product services, commenting on Mercer’s HR director analysis last month.

“This means that if Australian companies, and overseas companies with operations in Australia, are going to be able to attract and retain key executive talent, they will need to consider paying salaries that are internationally competitive.”

However, some might want to consider another of Mercer’s indexes – the worldwide health and sanitation ranking, which ranks Canadian cities highly. Brazilian cities, meanwhile, do not rank in the top 50 on sanitation and health.

Overall, Moscow was ranked as the world’s most expensive city, with London, Seoul, Tokyoand Hong Kong rounding out the top five. Sydneywas the highest ranked Australian city at 21, while Melbourne was 60th and Adelaide 96th.

“There have been some significant changes in the rankings since last year,” said Rebecca Powers, senior consultant at Mercer. “These are primarily due to exchange rate fluctuations – in particular, the weakening of the US dollar and strengthening of the euro. As companies continue to send employees on expatriate assignments, they must closely monitor changes in cost of living to ensure their expatriate compensation packages are fair and competitive.”

Cost of living top five most expensive:





Hong Kong

Sydney (21), Melbourne (60)

Health and sanitation ranking top five cleanest:


Honolulu, Hawaii




Adelaide (35), Melbourne (43), Perth (43)

Source: Mercer Human Resource Consulting.


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