By Alex Millson
(Bloomberg) — Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive place for employees sent abroad to work, according to a new study comparing the prices of 200 goods and products in more than 400 cities.
Switzerland was hot on Hong Kong’s heels, with four cities — Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern — ranking second to fifth place respectively in Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey 2022.
Three other Asian Cities — Singapore, Tokyo and Beijing — made the top 10, filling 8th, 9th and 10th spots respectively. High rankings for many Asian cities were driven by inflation and strong currencies, the management consultancy said in its report.
At the other end of the table, the cheapest places for expats to live were Turkey’s Ankara, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe in Tajikistan.
Elsewhere, Mercer reported:
Israel’s Tel Aviv, in 6th place, is the priciest place in the Middle East
New York City, 7th, is the most expensive city in the Americas
London came in at number 15
Four Chinese cities made the top 20, propelled by the strong yuan
Japanese and Korean cities became relatively more affordable due to weaker currencies
The report said global issues including Covid-19, war in Ukraine, exchange rate fluctuations and widespread inflation were affecting employees’ salaries and savings, while the number of professionals relocating to Asia over the past 18 months had fallen.
Tracey Ma, Mercer’s Regional Mobility Leader for Asia Pacific, said a talent shortage in developed countries, which rely heavily on foreign workers, could become an issue exacerbated by higher living costs.
“International assignment patterns are evolving faster than before” said Ma. She added that the rise of remote and flexible work means companies need to rethink their approach to managing a global workforce in order to attract and retain talent while ensuring cost efficiency.
Mercer measured the comparative cost of more than 200 things — including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment — to come up with its ranking.
Here are the top 50 most expensive cities for foreign workers:
Hong Kong, China
Tel Aviv, Israel
New York City, US
Seoul, South Korea
Los Angeles, US
San Francisco, US
Bangui, Central African Republic
Washington DC, US
Busan, South Korea
The Hague, Netherlands
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