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The 15 most expensive cities in the world to contract in

As a contractor, there are many factors to consider when choosing where to work. In addition to finding a contract that suits your skill-set, you need to do some serious research into the cost of living in the country you find the dream contract in.

In addition to finding a contract that suits your skill-set, you need to do some serious research into the cost of living in the country you find the dream contract in. Luckily, 3C Global are here to offer expert advice. Here is a description of the fifteen most expensive cities in the world to live and work in:

15th: Melbourne, Australia:


The cost of living is notoriously high in Australia, and Melbourne has climbed six places in the ranking since 2016. It is the third most expensive place for utilities in the world, costing on average GBP £165 (EUR €195) per month. Rent can cost up to the equivalent of GBP £1,209 (EUR €1,427) a month, and groceries can cost on average GBP £151 (EUR €178) weekly. Melbourne is also the second most expensive place in the world to buy tobacco.

14th: Sydney, Australia:

​Melbourne’s cousin Sydney ranks fourteenth most expensive, with monthly utility bills averaging around GBP £158 (EUR €186). Even though the ranking of these two Australian cities has increased since 2016, it is interesting to note that five years ago, they were two of the top ten most expensive countries to live in, according to the Economist Intelligence report.

Joint 11th: Tel Aviv, Israel;
Oslo, Norway;
Los Angeles, USA:

Tel Aviv in Israel ranked eleventh most expensive, along with Oslo in Norway and Los Angeles in the US. In Tel Aviv, the cost of rent can vary from ILS 7000- ILS 8200 (GBP £1,548.50 / EUR €1,811 - GBP £1,814 / EUR €2,121.54) per month. Basic utilities cost ILS 780 per month (GBP £172.50/EUR€204).

Oslo in Norway joins Tel Aviv at number 11, both of which were at number 14 in last year’s index. The cost of living in Oslo is 34% higher than in Dublin. Utilities for one month can cost up to NOK (Norwegian Krone) 4,553 (GBP £424.63/EUR €496.83) and a monthly pass on public transport will set you back NOK 2,361 (GBP £220.08, EUR €257.37).

Los Angeles completes the trio at number 11. The average cost of living in L.A. is only slightly cheaper than in New York. Rent can cost anywhere between USD $1,000-$4,600 (GBP £797-GBP £3,670/EUR €942-EUR €4,333), with basic monthly utilities costing on average USD $133 (GBP £106 /EUR €125).

​Joint 9th: Copenhagen, Denmark;
New York City, USA:

Copenhagen joins New York at number nine in the ranking, falling from eighth place in last year’s rankings. Copenhagen’s relatively high ranking in the index is attributed to high personal care and transport costs. The cost of rent is expensive, ranging from the sterling equivalent of GBP £720 (EUR €850) to GBP £1,567 (EUR €1,850). New York City has also fallen in the ranking from number seven last year owing to a slight weakness of the dollar.

​Joint 7th: Paris, France;
Geneva, Switzerland:


Unsurprisingly, Paris features in the top ten again, but although it is noted in the Economist’s Intelligence Report by the Business Insider that living in Paris is ‘7% pricier than living in New York’
it is also noted that the overall cost of living has fallen. Monthly rent in a studio will cost you between GBP £977-£2,162 (EUR €1,149 - €2,542), and utilities in a small flat can vary from EUR €82 - EUR €158.

Geneva joins Paris in seventh place, falling three places from fourth on last years’ ranking. Monthly rent for a small studio starts at GBP £1,242 (EUR €1,460), with utilities in the small studio averaging EUR €118.​

​​6th: Seoul, South Korea:

The South Korean capital is one of the five most expensive places in the world to buy food, with an average grocery shop costing 50% more than in New York. Monthly rent for a small studio averages GBP£526 (EUR€619) with monthly utilities averaging GBP£109 (EUR€128).

​5th: Osaka, Japan:

The cost of living in Osaka, Japan is up 9% from last year’s rankings. It is one of Japan’s most populous cities and a major economic hub. Rent varies from GBP £463 (EUR €544) in a ‘normal’ area to GBP £1,214 (EUR €1,428) in an expensive area and utilities in a small studio averages GBP £75 (EUR€88).

​​4th: Tokyo, Japan:

Tokyo has reclaimed its place in the top ten, shooting up from eleventh place last year. The Business Insider attributes this to ‘a sustained recovery in the strength of the Japanese Yen.’ Monthly rent for a studio varies from GBP £674 (EUR €793) in a ‘normal’ area to GBP £2,134 (EUR€2,509) in an expensive area, with utilities averaging GBP £72 (EUR€85) per month.

3rd: Zurich, Switzerland:

Zurich is the only European city in the top five. Although the cost of living has fallen slightly, it is still the most expensive city in which to live in Europe. Rent for a small studio costs anywhere between GBP £1,338 (EUR€1,582) and GBP £2,704 (EUR €3,197), with utilities costing on average GBP £99 (EUR €117) per month. However, the Economist Report notes that the cost of living has fallen slightly in Zurich.

2nd: Hong Kong:

Hong Kong remains second on the ranking, with the cost of living exceptionally high. Monthly rent for a studio averages at GBP £1,560 (EUR €1,844) and monthly utilities cost on average GBP £74 (EUR€88) in a studio for one person.

1st: Singapore:

For the fourth consecutive year, Singapore tops the ranking of the world’s most expensive cities. It is the most expensive place in the world to buy and run a car, although the report notes that it offers ‘relative value’ in areas such as domestic goods and personal care. Monthly rent for a studio can cost anywhere between GBP £1,094-£2,110 (EUR €1,293-EUR €2,494) depending on location, and monthly utilities average GBP £61 (EUR €72).

Wherever in the world your contracting journey takes you, 3C Global are here to help. We commit to ensuring that no matter where you work, you are compliant with the working regulations of your country of choice.

Source of rankings: Economist Intelligence Report 2017