London And Paris Named As Europe’s Best Cities For Business
7 Oct, 2008, London
London and Paris have been named as Europe’s most business friendly cities while Moscow can expect the biggest influx of companies over the next five years. The findings in the 19th annual European Cities Monitor report from global real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield also named Barcelona as the city with the highest quality of life with cities as diverse as Brussels, Zurich, Dusseldorf and Manchester all rising significantly in the rankings.
The annual report is based on interviews with senior managers and board directors in charge of location for 500 of Europe’s largest companies. In addition to the overall ranking, 34 cities are ranked against a number of criteria such as transport links, telecommunications, access to markets, availability and quality of staff, cost of office space and quality of life. The survey is undertaken independently for Cushman & Wakefield by Taylor Nelson Sofres.
Brussels enters into the top five of the overall ranking (up to 4th from 6th) at the expense of Barcelona and Amsterdam which move down to 5th and 6th respectively. Frankfurt is ranked 3rd. The biggest risers are all regional cities including Zurich (up to 10th from 13th), Dusseldorf (up to 12th from 16th) and Manchester (up to 14th from 18th).
Philippe Hurt, partner, Cushman & Wakefield in Brussels, said: “Brussels is at the heart of Europe both geographically and politically. As home to both EU and NATO and supporting businesses, the city benefits from a relatively stable economy coupled with a good quality of life enjoyed by a multilingual international population. Brussels authorities such as Invest in Brussels have done a tremendous job in the last couple of years helping to attract companies keen to be located in the decision making heart of Europe and in a city that is cosmopolitan but compact and a relatively safe and secure long term investment.”
London is ranked the number one city in half of the 12 major rankings including access to markets, availability of qualified staff and international and internal transport links. It scores poorly, however, on the cost of staff, the cost of office space and levels of pollution.
James Young, City of London office head, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “London is fortunate to be situated geographically between the economic powerhouses of the Far East and the United States. It is a truly international city which, although driven by the banking and financial services sector, is also a European media and creative hub. The city is one of the main destinations for international investment and this will increase as it benefits from domestic investment in infrastructure and sporting venues as host of the 2012 Olympic Games.”
Elaine Rossall, head of business space research, Cushman & Wakefield, said: “London, Paris and Frankfurt form a top tier of business cities which are unlikely to be seriously challenged in the near future. The rise of regional cities has been driven by advances in telecommunications and more sophisticated government promotional strategies aimed at attracting inward investment. It is amongst the lower rankings where these smaller regional cities are really jostling for the attention of major corporates. They are benefiting from a more cost-conscious business climate where flexibility of location and an appreciation of ‘softer’ factors such as quality of life are becoming increasingly important.”
European Cities Monitor also asked companies which were the key factors when deciding where to relocate their business. The availability of qualified staff came ahead of easy access to markets, customers or clients as the single most important factor with telecommunications marginally ahead of national and international transport links.
Those surveyed also said that fears over the performance of the European economy followed by the growth of Central & Eastern Europe are the factors most likely to impact their business over the next ten years. More than a fifth of companies had outsourced operations overseas in the last 12 months with the new EU member states the most popular destination closely followed by India.
This year companies were asked whether they occupied an environmentally friendly or ‘green’ building. Only 15 per cent of companies currently do so with 45 per cent saying they would like to do so. 32 per cent had no interest in occupying a green building. The expected reduction in energy and water consumption was considered the most attractive factor for 35 per cent of companies whilst 19 per cent claimed the biggest barrier to occupying a green building was insufficient choice.