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SF, NY Lead Cities that Assignees Prefer to Work and Live In

Out of all the cities in the United States, which do you think assignees prefer to work and live in? That’s New York City and San Francisco in California (and thereabouts).

Outside of the U.S., Munich and Berlin in Germany come to mind. Then there’s two more in Canada (Toronto and Calgary), and still another two in Switzerland (Zurich and Geneva). Finally, to round off the top 10 in the entire world (we’re in bracketing mode now with the NCAA March Madness 2017 in full swing), the last two would be Luxembourg and Austria.

These are the findings done by the global firm AIRINC which published its findings in the Harvard Business Review.

While salary may be the first consideration of assignees in accepting an assignment, the next question in their minds is the extent to which they can enjoy it. Compensation packages are always weighed against cost of living. In short, an assignee wants to find out the kind of lifestyle that his salary can give him or her in that place. Regions with the pricey food and steep rentals will inevitably consume their hard-earned income. It’s not unusual to figure out if some of the most developed yet safest cities in the world like Singapore and Paris did not make the cut; they’re also expensive to live in.

High taxes that can reduce their take-home pay is another deal-breaker for assignees. While Melbourne has been a favored destination because of its infrastructure and embrace of a work-life balance, its taxation system as well as high cost of living discourage assignees from wanting to live and work there. For example, the price of three meals in the Australian city is 16 percent higher than that of San Francisco. At the same time, assignees can be taxed to as high as 30 percent, a rate similar to that in Denmark.

Next, after making sure that they they can indeed enjoy the fruits of their labor, assignees look at the kind of lifestyle they can experience in a certain region. They weigh the positives (comfortable housing accommodations, enough R&R options, a culture that promotes work-life balance) versus the negatives (such as rising crime or extreme climate changes).

Meanwhile, another study, this time by Internations, adds interesting criteria that is not present in the AIRINC survey: the speed and comfort by which the assignee can settle down in the city and acclimatize himself, and the friendliness of the locals who make him feel welcome. Taipei in Taiwan and Malta get high marks for these two factors.

Global mobility specialists who seek a smooth and pleasant transition for their assignees should keep all the above criteria in mind. Crafting a compensation package that their assignee would find acceptable may well be within their control. So is coming up with a tax plan that would not put a heavy financial burden on his assignee.

Beyond cost of living, the next best thing global mobility specialists can do is introduce the assignee to establishments near their accommodations that can maximize the value of each cent they earn. These can include the local market, schools for kids, budget-friendly shopping malls, and public parks and beaches where they can enjoy R&R without blowing their budget.

The welcome mat is something that the global mobility specialist can always extend to his assignee in one form or another. Helping him network with partners can empower him to create the kind of home he desires. California Corporate Housing, for example, can customize the design of his unit to make him feel more at home. A tour around the top tourist spots can also give him a healthier appreciation of his new country of work.

Then cap it off with a series of dinners, afternoon barbecues, or friendly meetups with his neighbors and colleagues to showcase the warmth and friendliness in the place. With regions like Northern California which actively promote a culture of community, a healthy culture, and work-life balance, global mobility specialists here know being a favored destination also makes their lives a lot easier.