Dubai is the safest city for business in the region, with Damascus the riskiest, according to a new survey.
Dubai beats Paris, Tokyo on risk level for business
Dubai is a safer place to conduct business than Paris, Tokyo, Berlin and other major world cities, a new survey has found.
Low rates of crime, violence and terrorism meant Dubai was named the least riskiest city in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the Aon Hewitt 2012 People Risk Index.
Government support also helped to lift Dubai to 29th, overall, in the international ranking.
Dubai's low-risk status "is attributable to its demographics, government support and talent development", said Aon, a human resources company based in the United States. "In terms of demographics, Dubai has a young population with a projected growth of 0.4 per cent year on year in working age population in the next 10 years."
Aon measured the risks that organisations faced in recruitment, employment and relocation in 131 cities worldwide.
Abu Dhabi was not among the cities rated.
Demographics, education, government support, talent development and employment practices were all taken into account in Aon's assessments.
New York was considered the world's safest city, ahead of Toronto and Singapore.
Dubai's risk level was deemed similar to that of cities such as Washington, Zurich, Sydney, Amsterdam and Oslo. Dubai's status as a business centre was bolstered last year as wealthy individuals from elsewhere in the region injected their cash into banks and snapped up properties in the emirate during disturbances in other countries as part of the so-called Arab Spring.
After Dubai, Doha, Muscat and Manama were the next least riskiest cities in the region.
At the opposite end of the survey, Damascus and Sanaa were the riskiest cities in the index.
The Arab Spring had a considerable impact on the results, the survey said. Cities such as Tunis, Cairo and Tripoli, which experienced unrest during the Arab Spring, all scored poorly. Higher political and economic instability as a result of protests and policy reforms dragged cities in countries affected by the Arab Spring down the rankings, Aon said.
In contrast, stability in other cities in the region allowed employers to keep to their employment plans and to manage capacity of talent over a longer time.
"This period is an inflection point in the development of the region. Companies' decisions on operating in the region are impacted by government limitations on expatriate workforce employment and incentives for employment of local talent," said Radhika Punshi, the head of applied research and solutions for Aon in the Middle East and North Africa.
Other factors were also taken into account in the survey. Standards of education determined how easy it was for companies to find qualified professionals. Literacy rates and enrolment in secondary and tertiary educational institutions all contributed to a city's risk ranking.
"The low-risk cities typically have high literacy rates of approximately 90 per cent compared to the high-risk cities with literacy rates that range from 56 to 83 per cent," Aon said.
Ease of developing talent, employment practices and demographics in a city all influenced how it scored.
"In Dubai, there is greater focus on vocational training," said Mr Punshi.
"In addition, there are increasingly more international, world-class education institutions operating in Dubai … which provides organisations the resources to upgrade the skills of their employees, increasing talent quality."
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