Three Swiss cities named Europe’s priciest for foreign workers

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Three Swiss cities named Europe’s priciest for foreign workers

The three most expensive cities in Europe for foreign employees are all in Switzerland, according to a new survey.


Zurich came in fifth overall in the annual Cost of Living survey put together by consulting firm Mercer.

With Hong Kong in top place, Tokyo coming second, Singapore third and the Korean capital of Seoul in fourth place, that means Zurich ranked as the most expensive location in Europe for foreign workers.

Read also: Zurich 'world's most expensive city for dating'

Meanwhile, two other Swiss cities – Bern, which ranked 12th, and Geneva (in 13th) – were the second and third priciest places in Europe for employees posted overseas.

The survey, carried out by US consulting giant Mercer, is designed to help multinational companies and governments determine compensation allowances for their expatriate employees.

The 2019 edition ranking looked at 209 cities globally, comparing prices of more than 200 items including accommodation, transport, clothing, food, household goods and recreation and entertainment.


Read also: So what is actually cheap in Switzerland?

The top of this year’s rankings was dominated by Asian cities while Mercer noted European cities had fallen down the list because European currencies have weakened against the US dollar.

Paris fell 13 places to 47th while Berlin dropped 10 spots to 81st overall. London slipped four places to 23rd.

High prices but high wages too

While Switzerland remains expensive for foreign workers, the upside is that salaries are also high. New figures released this week show the median salary for full-time executives and senior managers in Switzerland in 2018 was 119,000 Swiss francs (€107,000).

And Mercer’s recent quality of living report suggests that Switzerland’s high prices have a silver lining.

That survey saw Zurich comes in second while Geneva was ninth – one position lower than last year – and Basel placed tenth for the second-year running.

Read also: This is how much people in Switzerland earn


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