Hong Kong most expensive city to be posted to

Vicky Shaw |

A global index found Hong Kong to be the hardest city for expatriate workers to stay afloat.
A global index found Hong Kong to be the hardest city for expatriate workers to stay afloat.

Hong Kong has again topped the list of the world’s most expensive cities in a global index that looks at the costs of taking a job overseas.

The Mercers index includes 226 locations across the world and measures the comparative cost of more than 200 items including transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.

Hong Kong retained the top spot in this year’s ranking, followed by Singapore. Swiss cities Zurich, Geneva and Basel round out the top five most expensive cities.

London has moved up nine places since last year, to be ranked eighth in the 2024 list, just below New York, thanks to factors including the general cost of living and rental prices.

Three Australian cities were in the top 100, with Sydney at 58th place, Melbourne 73rd and Brisbane 89th.

Canberra, Adelaide and Perth were at the 106, 107 and 109 positions respectively.

Abuja in Nigeria was ranked least expensive in the survey, at number 226. 

Mercer, a business of Marsh McLennan, compiles the ranking to help multinational employers plan compensation packages for workers. 

Rising housing costs in many cities around the world have been a challenge for employers, with volatile inflation trends also putting a strain on workers’ compensation packages, Mercer said. 

These factors can make it difficult for employers to attract and retain top talent and can increase compensation and benefits expenses, limit talent mobility and raise operational costs, the report added. 

Yvonne Traber, Mercer’s global mobility leader, said: “Cost-of-living challenges have had a significant impact on multinational organisations and their employees. 

“It’s important for organisations to stay informed about cost-of-living trends and inflation rates and seek input from employees on these issues to effectively manage their effects. 

“High living costs may cause assignees to adjust their lifestyle, cut back on discretionary spending or even struggle to meet their basic needs.” 

Here are the top 10 on the 2024 cost-of-living city rankings from Mercer: 

1. Hong Kong 

2. Singapore 

3. Zurich, Switzerland 

4. Geneva, Switzerland 

5. Basel, Switzerland 

6. Bern, Switzerland 

7. New York, United States 

8. London, United Kingdom 

9. Nassau, Bahamas 

10. Los Angeles, United States