What are the best cities in the world in which to work? PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the multinational giant that focuses on audit, tax, strategy and legal advisory services, has long been monitoring the world’s major economic centres, assessing cities based on various parameters and drawing up a sort of annual ranking that responds precisely to the question – where is the best place to work? The answer? Four European cities – none in Italy, with Milan ranking eighteenth and doing badly across all parameters – and a few surprise.
The parameters do not merely take into account economic factors – job opportunities, ease of doing business and labour costs – but also elements capable of improving, albeit indirectly, the quality of work and life in the city. For example, each city’s score considers issues such as transportation efficiency, public safety and environmental sustainability.
Based on these findings, according to PwC, the ten best cities in which to work are:
1. London. Once again, in 2017 the capital of the United Kingdom confirms its leading role in this ranking. London owes its success to the high scores earned across all indicators: rules, innovation, ability to attract people and capital from all over the world. London scores highest as an “intellectual capital” and “city gateway”, which measures openness to the world, but also obtains excellent results with regard to transportation. Indeed, only two areas of concern emerge: cost of living, which comes as no surprise, and the dangers involved with Brexit, in the hope that in the coming years the city does not suffer severe repercussions following its withdrawal from the European Union.
2. Singapore. Singapore’s success has only continued as it rises to second from seventh in 2012, buoyed by continued excellence in transportation (considered the best worldwide), ease of doing business and “technology readiness”, i.e. how well technology is integrated and used to improve citizens’ lives.
3. Toronto. In addition to innovation and ease of doing business, Toronto earns impressive scores in all parameters measuring the quality of life and wellbeing of citizens, such as health, safety and environmental sustainability. For the past five years, Toronto has always ranked among the first four cities in the PwC report, and this year is no exception, registering once again as one of the best cities in which to work.
4. Paris. This is the only city to rank among the top ten across all the indicators considered, with the sole exception of cost of living. The terrorist attacks of recent years should not alter our perception of this metropolis: Paris remains a safe city with a high quality of life and an economy that continues to holds strong, despite the ongoing recession suffered in the Eurozone.
Four European cities rank among the top ten: none in Italy, with Milan ranking eighteenth.
5. Amsterdam. Despite its high propensity to natural disasters, the Dutch city is also amongst the best equipped to deal with such events. The figures relating to innovation leave no room for doubt and make all the difference, with the city ranking first in terms of internet access in schools, second in terms of best mobile broadband speed, fourth in the intellectual capital and innovation category, and second with regard to the percentage of people with a higher education. A city that is open to the future, where it is easy to do business, is sure to offer great opportunities.
6. New York. This city has lost four positions compared to the 2014 report, mainly due to increased cost of living and taxation. However, the city’s job market, its exceptional liveliness and its strategic importance in a variety of industries help New York remain an attractive city.
7. Stockholm. Stockholm gains top marks in terms of environmental sustainability (tied with Sydney), with a positive impact on the city’s excellent quality of life. It is also the third best city with regard to public transport, thus promoting easy commutes. The only drawback, which makes Stockholm drop significantly in the standings, concerns its poor score as a city gateway given its low degree of accessibility – despite being served by four airports.
8. San Francisco. On average, this city does unexpectedly well across most parameters, making it the perfect place to work, with its reasonable cost of living, the high level of integration of information technology into public administration, its fourth place in terms of transportation, and – above all – its second place in terms of “economic clout”, i.e. the ability to influence and affect the economy, also at the national level.
9. Hong Kong. One of the cities with the greatest openness to the world, Hong Kong is an excellent choice for those needing to engage in frequent air travel. In terms of ease of doing business, it is second only to Singapore, making it highly attractive for investments.
10. Sydney. Like Stockholm, Sydney scores well in terms of environmental sustainability and quality of life, with a very high level of safety and wellness, two important considerations when settling down and working in a city. However, a few parameters prevent the city from soaring in the rankings: a rather high cost of living, limited openness to the world, and a bit too much red tape when setting up a business from scratch.