Riskiest employment locations revealed

by 29 Sep 2010

Toronto is the lowest risk city in the world to recruit, employ and relocate employees while Melbourne – Australia’s top city – ranks at number 15, according to new research by Aon Consulting.

The People Risk Index measured the risks that organisations face with recruitment, employment and relocation in 90 cities worldwide by analysing demographics, education, employment practices and government regulations. 

It found the five lowest risk cities for employers are Toronto, New York, Singapore, London and Montreal, while locations such as Dhaka, Phnom Penh, Lagos, and Tehran represent the least desirable of the 90 cities. 

Australia’s top two cities, Melbourne (15th) and Sydney (16th), ranked alongside the likes of Hong Kong and Boston.

Australia’s high income and level of economic development greatly contributes to its low risk. However, the relatively small size of Australian cities, an ageing population and relatively high staff turnover rates when compared to North American cities increases recruitment risks.

The limited number of multilingual professionals and managers in Australia is also a reason for Australia’s higher risk score, according to the study.

Rick Payne, chief research officer of Aon Consulting's Global Research Centre, said: “The new risk ratings come at an opportune time as assessing employment risk takes on heightened importance as of late, from controversy over Arizona's strict new anti-illegal immigration law to recent strikes in China.”

“As companies face these and other employment risks as well as take a close look at new investment opportunities in emerging markets, the ratings can help companies systematically and consistently assess the relative risks they face when hiring, employing and moving staff.” 

Montreal and Toronto are among the five lowest risk cities primarily due to Canada's low level of corruption; strict enforcement of equal opportunity laws; health and retirement benefits; and high quality and broad availability of training facilities.

The results also found New York and London's favourable ratings to be attributable to world-class educational institutions and training facilities, and a large pool of qualified and experienced talent. 

Singapore is the only city outside Europe and North America among the 10 lowest risk cities.

Contributing to this rating is Singapore's strict laws on discrimination and occupational health and safety, flexibility on personnel costs, lack of corruption and willingness to work with the private sector on human resources related issues.

“A significant factor influencing the People Risk Index is government support,” said Payne. 

“Cities with low risk typically have a government that is transparent, non-confrontational, and deal with employment issues fairly. Employers in these cities are less likely to be surprised by changes in government policies on employment, health care, and retirement. Therefore, they have fewer issues finding and retaining educated and experienced talent. These employers also have more flexibility to restructure their operations without fear of incurring significant unanticipated costs.”

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