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The Worst Cities in the World to Work in...Would You Dare Work There?

If you think your job is tough, and the location you live in doesn’t quite meet your expectations, then take a look at the top 10 worst cities in the world to work in and you might just think differently about your own situation! These cities are so dangerous that employees who agree to take up employment there often qualify for ‘hardship’ pay ; this is extra pay awarded to employees, just for working in a particular location!

The below list was reported by Bruce Einhorn for US online forum, Excelle and is the results of data obtained by OCR Worldwide for BusinessWeek.

Please note that the list does not include any location in the US, Canada or Western Europe, nor does it include any location that is considered a ‘war zone’.

#1 Lagos, Nigeria

Making it to the top of the OCR’s list for challenging and dangerous countries to work in is Lagos. This city is the largest city in Africa’s largest county – Nigeria. Lagos is graded as a very high-risk location with severe problems in crime and infrastructure. According to the report, pollution, disease, sanitation, and the availability of goods and services are all major problems in Lagos.

#2 Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta comes in at a close second to Lagos in terms of being a dangerous location to work in. The city is graded as a very high-risk location and it suffers from major problems with pollution, medical facilities, disease, political violence, crime and repression. As the world’s largest Muslim country, the region is often a target for high-profile Islamic terrorist attacks.

#3 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia as a country is a dangerous location, but the city of Riyadh is graded as a very high-risk location and a place where hardship pay is commonplace amongst expat workers. The city suffers from political violence and repression whilst other problems include a lack of education facilities, physical remoteness, disease and climate. Expat employees may find Saudi Arabia particularly difficult due to the culture shock; there are tight restrictions on dress code, movement, food, alcohol, and communications.

#4 Almaty, Kazakhstan

Another ‘very high risk’ location is Almaty in Kazakhstan. The remoteness of Almaty is said to be a major concern for expat workers, particularly with the high threat of disease and lack of effective medical facilities. The housing, climate, and infrastructure are all issues that expat workers will have to contend with.

#5 Mumbai, India

Pollution, disease, infrastructure, political violence and repression are just some of the major problems associated with Mumbai, and it is for these reasons, that expat workers taking up employment in Mumbai qualify for hardship pay. Whilst India boasts some of the most beautiful locations on earth, it is also home to some of the world’s worst slums and security problems.

#6 New Delhi, India

New Delhi is the capital city of India, yet this does not make it any better than the danger zone of Mumbai. In fact, New Delhi has many of its own issues including poor infrastructure, threat of disease, pollution, and poor sanitation. It is therefore evident why so many professionals qualify for hardship pay to work there.

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#7 Nairobi, Kenya


Nairobi is a considered to be a high-risk location with an ongoing problem with crime levels and poor infrastructure. Disease, political violence and repression combine to make this location a place of extreme hardship for those employed there.

#8 Bogota, Columbia


As one of the highest risk locations in the world, Bogota is known for its high crime rate, violence and security concerns. Repression and pollution are also major concerns for residents, although it is the city’s lack of security and risk of threat that makes it an off-putting location for employees.

#9 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This city in Vietnam suffers from risk of disease, poor sanitation, pollution, lack of medical facilities and high crime rates. Ho Chi Minh City, whilst a tourist attraction, is also a high risk location and individual visiting or working in the city should be very careful about where they go. In addition, the climate can torment those who are not able to handle extreme heat and humidity.


#10 Chennai, India

India features 3 times in the list of worst locations to work, although this time it is the city of Chennai. Despite the city’s commercial and economic drawing points, the city is also overcome with pollution, poverty, heightened threat of disease and poor medical facilities.

So, if your boss offers you a work placement overseas for a little extra pay, find out exactly where you are heading before agreeing to it! Some of these places are simply not worth the extra few dollars in your back pocket. Be safe, not sorry!

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