Canadian Underwriter

Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal rank among low risk cities for talent management: Aon Hewitt

March 26, 2013   by Canadian Underwriter

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Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver are among the top 10 lowest risk cities  in the world for recruiting, employing and relocating employees, according to rankings from Aon Hewitt, the global human resources business of Aon plc.


The company’s 2013 People Risk Index  measures the risks that organizations face with recruitment, employment and relocation in 138 cities worldwide by analyzing factors as demographics, access to education, talent development, employment practices and government regulations.

This year, New York took the top spot for least risky city, which Aon attributes to its “world-class educational institutions, training facilities and availability of a large pool of qualified and experienced talent.”

The city’s demographic risk is the second lowest due to its large working age population and high workforce productivity, Aon said.

Singapore, Toronto, London and Montreal retained their ranks as the top five lowest risk cities in the world this year. Singapore was the only city outside of Europe and North America ranked in the top five, while Hong Kong is among those ranked as the 10 lowest risk cities, Aon noted.

Copenhagen and Zurich were new to the top 10 this year, which Aon said is due to those cities’ pro-business employment policies, their open door policy towards talent and a focus on developing and improving education and talent development.

“Furthermore, the increased risk in the euro zone cities exacerbated by the ongoing debt crisis has reduced the relative risk in European cities outside of the euro zone,” Aon noted.

Still, while many North American cities are low risk, that doesn’t mean no risk, Sally Evans, a research manager at Aon Hewitt wrote in an article on the rankings. She points to ageing populations and underfunded education systems as people risk factors for the developed world.

Luanda, Angola; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Sana’a, Yemen; and Damascus, Syria represent the highest risk locations for employers, according to Aon’s rankings.

The lack of stable and transparent government continues to be an obstacle in those cities, Aon said.


“There is a silver lining for these high risk cities – they will continue to experience population growth in the next decade which will increase the size of the labor pool,” Richard Payne, Talent and Rewards practice leader for Aon Hewitt in Asia Pacific noted in a statement.

“However, if the education and talent development infrastructure do not improve, these cities will face a surplus of low skilled workers and a shortage of highly educated professional talent.”

Still, organizations are still expressing interest in some higher risk cities because of abundant natural resources and high economic growth potential, Aon said. “Africa presents many opportunities if employers are able to identify and mitigate the people risk in these cities effectively,” Payne noted.

The full rankings and more information on the index is available on Aon Hewitt’s website.