5. London 5. London

The host of this summer’s Olympic Games comes in at No. 5. The city boasts a government that is transparent, non-confrontational and deals with employment issues fairly. Employers there are less likely to be surprised by changes in government policies on employment, health care and retirement; as a result, employers have fewer issues finding and retaining educated and experienced talent. London also ranks high for its education system and world-class talent development infrastructure.

4. Montreal 4. Montreal

Tied with London is Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s French-speaking province, Quebec. Canada’s strict enforcement of equal opportunity laws, clear government-mandated health and retirement benefits, and the high quality and broad availability of training facilities help bring Montreal on to the list. On the downside, Montreal has a relatively lesser presence of executive recruiting companies to provide employers with recruitment services.

3. Singapore 3. Singapore


Singapore is the only city outside of Europe and North America that is among the five lowest risk cities. Contributing to this rating are its 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 HR-related issues. Singapore also has low terrorism and political risks and strong government.

“Cities with low risk typically have a government that is transparent, non-confrontational, deals with employment issues fairly and promotes education and talent development initiatives,” says Rick Payne, regional talent and rewards practice leader for Aon Hewitt in Asia Pacific. “Employers in these cities are less likely to be surprised by changes in government policies on employment, health care and retirement and they have better support in terms of workforce development.”

2. Toronto 2. Toronto

Coming in at No. 2 is Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Its population of four million people helps it beat out Montreal, the other Canadian city making the list. While the city has low employment and redeployment risk, its recruitment risks are higher than the other top five cities because of its relatively small working age population and lower immigration rates.

1. New York 1. New York

The Big Apple edges out Toronto as the world’s lowest risk city. It ranked lowest in demographics risk based on its large working age population, positive immigration rate and high workforce productivity. The city’s education and talent development risks are also among the lowest in the world, according to the survey. However, the index showed that New York has higher unemployment risk than the other top five cities, mainly due to higher violence and crime rates, and higher health care and benefits liability risks.

High risk cities High risk cities


The least desirable cities for employers include: Lagos, Nigeria; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Baghdad, Iraq; Sana’a, Yemen; and Damascus, Syria. Political turmoil and lack of stable governments substantially increase the people risks in these cities.

“Working age populations are expected to grow in many high risk cities over the next decade, which will expand the future labor pool and increase opportunities for organizations to recruit and redeploy talent,” says Payne. “As this happens, we expect the demographic risks in these cities will improve over time.”


Top 5 locations for recruiting, retaining and relocating employees

Where does your city rank? Aon Hewitt’s 2012 People Risk Index measures the risks that organizations face with recruitment, employment and relocation in 131 cities worldwide by analyzing such factors as demographics, access to education, talent development, employment practices and government regulations. Here are the top five lowest risk cities -- in descending order -- in which to recruit, employ and relocate top talent. (Images: Thinkstock)

5. London

The host of this summer’s Olympic Games comes in at No. 5. The city boasts a government that is transparent, non-confrontational and deals with employment issues fairly. Employers there are less likely to be surprised by changes in government policies on employment, health care and retirement; as a result, employers have fewer issues finding and retaining educated and experienced talent. London also ranks high for its education system and world-class talent development infrastructure.





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