S’pore slips in EIU’s expat posting rankings

Anna Teo
Business Times
6 February 2004

It’s ranked 55th and deemed ‘on threshold of notable hardship’

AS a posting for expatriates, Singapore is a borderline case of ‘notable hardship’, according to one assessment.

The Republic ranks 55th – down from 50th last year, and alongside Budapest and Seoul – in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)’s latest hardship survey that looks at conditions for expatriates in 130 cities.

Melbourne, Vancouver and Vienna emerge as the ‘easiest’ cities in the world for expatriates, while the Papua New Guinea capital of Port Moresby takes up the tail end as the worst posting destination.

The EIU survey looks at 12 factors grouped in three broad categories – health and safety; culture and environment; and infrastructure – and produces for each city a hardship rating. Any rating above 20 per cent reflects ‘some form of hardship’, with scores above 65 per cent ‘entailing extreme hardship’.

The top 12 cities have hardship ratings of between one and 4 per cent. Singapore’s score of 18 per cent puts it on the ‘threshold of notable hardship’, though the figure still falls below the minimum level at which EIU recommends a hardship allowance for expatriates. While Singapore has fallen five rungs in the latest survey, Hong Kong was the biggest climber, rising 11 places in the rankings to 33rd, thanks to a 2 per cent jump in living standards, according to EIU.

With a hardship rating of 11 per cent, Hong Kong shares 33rd spot with Barcelona, Luxembourg and four US cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Miami and Lexington.

The top-ranked, or ‘most comfortable’ US city is Honolulu (8 per cent hardship rating), due to its favourable climate, good housing stock, low risk of crime and wide availability of recreational activities. On the other hand, Washington, DC – at 19 per cent – is the US city with the most hardship, mainly due to a higher risk of terrorism. Australian and Canadian cities feature prominently at the top of the rankings, with all five Australian cities surveyed up in the top ten.

The ‘easiest’ Asian cities are Japan’s Osaka and Tokyo – joint 19th with Amsterdam, Auckland, Berlin, Honolulu and Wellington, all with a hardship rating of only 8 per cent.

Most other Asian cities – such as Shanghai, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Dhaka and Karachi – rank well in the bottom half.

SDP’s note: Just imagine what it’s like for locals if the expats, despite everything the Government is doing to make things comfortable for them, find it ‘hard’ to get by in Singapore.

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