FYI: Relocation

Monday, February 6, 2012
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Vienna Tops in Quality of Life

If you enjoy "wiener schnitzel" and opera music along with the highest quality of life available on the planet, then Vienna, Austria may be the city for you, according to the most recent worldwide ranking of cities by its quality of life.

The Mercer 2011 Quality of Living Survey is designed to help governments and multinational companies fairly compensate employees when placing them on international assignments, and the report provides information and hardship premium recommendations for 221 major cities around the world, using New York as the base city.

The survey's highest-ranked U.S. cities for overall quality of living are Honolulu and San Francisco. This year, the report also separately identifies cities with the highest personal-safety ranking, based on internal stability, crime level, law-enforcement effectiveness and the host country's international relations.

Luxembourg tops this personal-safety ranking, followed by Bern, Switzerland; Helsinki, Finland; and Zurich, Switzerland -- all ranked at No. 2. Vienna ranks fifth, while Geneva and Stockholm, Sweden both rank sixth.

Baghdad, Iraq (221) is the world's least-safe city, according to the report.

Top Reasons for Moving

Moving to be closer to work is the second-most-popular reason for Americans to pick up and relocate, according to Atlas Van Lines, with landing a new job or job transfer coming in fifth place.

Using the results from its most recent migration-patterns study, combined with its American Housing Survey for the United States, the Evansville, Ind.-based national moving company finds the No. 1 reason for Americans to move is "to establish own household." The need for a larger house or apartment comes in third on the list, with the desire for a "better home" coming in fourth.

The company's infographic also shows regional differences in why people are moving. For example, 11.4 percent of moves made in the South were because of a new job or job transfer, compared to 9.6 percent in the West, 9 percent in the Midwest and 7.5 percent in the Northeast.

"This information is of particular interest to employers, realtors and human resource professionals as they make business decisions," says Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas World Group.


Cultural Training Available Online

Expatriates and their families now have online access to country-specific information designed to prepare them to live and work effectively in a foreign culture, thanks to the creation of a new division of RW3 Culture Wizard, a New York-based e-learning and cultural training provider.

The new division,, offers an interactive, self-directed and multimedia-based course designed to help users learn critical information about destination countries and gain business skills they will need to be more successful.

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"All the research in the field indicates that failure to properly understand the cultural issues of working with people from a different country is the greatest contributor to expat-assignment failure," says Michael Schell, CEO of "This impacts the company's cost and the expatriate's career, to say nothing of the family's well-being."

Leading Inhibitors to Employee Mobility

There are five distinct issues that are inhibiting companies from reaching their employee-relocation and business objectives, including misalignment of the mobility program with the company's business goals, according to a new report from Brookfield Global Relocation Services.

The Woodbridge, Ill.-based organization says its report, Overcoming Inhibitors to International Employee Mobility, was compiled through in-depth interviews with more than a dozen global mobility leaders in Europe and the United States, and supplements its 2011 Global Relocation Trends Survey report.

Other inhibitors listed in the report include a need for unit and senior-management leaders to better understand the needs of their globally mobile employees; bringing policy provisions more closely in line with the needs of current assignees; a lack of commitment to compliance in key areas, such as assignment-business justification, approval process and assignment authorization; and getting regional buy-in to global programs.

"Our report not only reveals the five major inhibitors that are holding back global mobility programs," says Scott Sullivan, executive vice president of the company, "but also identifies how companies have overcome these roadblocks and conquered the challenges many international firms are facing."

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