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Cost of living worldwide

Asia amongst the most expensive locations for working abroad

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The latest Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey has found that Asian, African, and European cities have dominated the list of most expensive locations for working abroad. In fact, half of the top 10 cities in this year’s ranking are in Asia including Hong Kong (2), Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6) and Shanghai (8).

The survey also revealed that factors such as instability of housing markets and inflation for goods and services contribute to the overall cost of doing business in today’s global environment.

In the press release, Ilya Bonic, senior partner and president of Mercer’s Career business said: “Globalisation of the marketplace is well documented with many companies operating in multiple locations around the world and promoting international assignments to enhance the experience of future managers.”

“There are numerous personal and organisational advantages for sending employees overseas, whether for long- or short-term assignments, including career development by obtaining global experience, the creation and transfer of skills, and the reallocation of resources,” he added.

Ranked second, Hong Kong – which dropped from the top spot last year – is the most expensive city in Asia. This was a result of its currency pegged to the US dollar, which drove up the cost of accommodations locally. This global financial center is followed by Tokyo (3), Singapore (5), Seoul (6), and Shanghai (8).

Mercer cost of living survey

On that note, Mario Ferraro, global mobility leader for Asia, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) at Mercer said: “Although a number of Asian cities remain amongst the world’s most expensive cities, key financial hubs such as Hong Kong and Singapore still continue to attract talent and remain a top choice for relocation.”

“Although this year’s movements were due mainly to currency fluctuations, in particular against the US dollar, we did see cities – such as Mumbai – move up the ranks due to their strengthening economy and growing opportunities,” he added.

ALSO READ: Singapore the 7th most expensive country for expat kids’ schooling

Additionally, Nathalie Constantin-Métral, principal at Mercer who is responsible for compiling the survey ranking said: “The majority of Chinese cities fell in the ranking due to the weakening of the Chinese yuan against the US dollar. And, the strengthening of the Japanese yen along with the high costs of expatriate consumer goods and a dynamic housing market pushed Japanese cities up in the ranking.”

The survey includes over 400 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items in each location, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment.

“While historically mobility, talent management, and rewards have been managed independently of one another, organisations are now using a more holistic approach to enhance their mobility strategies. Compensation is important to be competitive and must be determined appropriately based on the cost of living, currency, and location,” concluded Bonic.

Table / Mercer

Photo / 123RF

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