Hong Kong was named the most expensive city to work abroad this year

Hong Kong was named the most expensive city to work abroad this year
FILE PHOTO: A general view of Two International Finance Centre (IFC), HSBC headquarters and Bank of China in Hong Kong, China July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

There’s this index that ranks the most expensive cities in the world to help companies and governments figure out how much to pay expats. It sorts rankings based on things like the costs of rent, transportation and food within the city, all relative to the Big Apple. With that, Hong Kong came out on top this year as the only Asian city among the top five, which was dominated by cities in Switzerland.

This is especially important because, with remote work on the rise, many companies use this index when crafting internal policies to understand the economic effect of employee relocation. The Mercer study’s partner Vince Cordova said that while much of this ranking had to do with real estate prices, it’s also related to rising costs of goods and services, with many having to spend more to live better, and political uncertainty. Following Hong Kong were the Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva, Basel and Bern.

Key comments:

“Part of it is the real estate market," said Cordova, noting that rising costs in attractive accommodations have pushed up the prices of expat packages. “The other part is the cost of goods and services and also the political uncertainty. The people who are going to be there will need to spend more to live well," he added.

“One of the consequences of the pandemic was this concept of work from anywhere, with more employees now asking employers if they can support that. Companies now want some information on what the economic impact of that relocation would be, and that’s how we’re seeing mobility expand," said Cordova.