The best cities for work
Let’s start with the serious stuff. We’re here to work, after all.
We looked at how cities fare on employment rate, average monthly salary, number of co-working spaces, internet speed and commute satisfaction (apologies if being stuck in traffic is on your travelling bucket list).
Dubai in the United Arab Emirates tops this category, scoring well for employment rate and commute satisfaction. London, UK follows in second place and Austin, Texas in the USA comes third – also nabbing a top score for monthly salary. Elsewhere, Hong Kong scores top marks for internet speed, Delhi does well for co-working spaces while Chiang Mai and Canggu boast great commuter satisfaction.
So if work’s your main squeeze, you’ve got three top continents to choose from!
Living the freelancer life
When you’re more than a passing tourist, you’ll need to love (fingers crossed!) life in your chosen city.
We looked at general cost of living (have you seen the price of milk these days?), monthly rent for a one bedroom in the city centre, and quality of healthcare.
Medellín, Colombia wins at life, scoring healthily across all three metrics. Chiang Mai, Thailand follows in second place with a top score for healthcare while third place goes to Lahore, Pakistan with the lowest cost of living and the lowest monthly rent across all 30 cities.
Other top scorers include Delhi for cost of living, and Dhaka, Delhi, Cairo, Buenos Aires and Canggu for monthly rent. For healthcare, Toulouse holds a strong second place while Barcelona gets third.
Options abound for a happy, healthy freelancing life.
involved in this work
Freelancing means you have the freedom to manage your time your way. Whether you’re looking to get a surf in before a presentation, peruse a museum between calls, or schedule your work for the PM so you can hit the clubs the night before, freelancing gives you that flexibility.
So, which city has the fun factor? Austin, Texas boasts an impressive performance scoring top marks for both leisure activities and quality of life. Melbourne, Australia gets a close second overall while Berlin, Germany lands in a comfortable third position.
In general, several cities scored enviously well for their leisure activities: Barcelona, London, Athens, Hong Kong and São Paulo all got 5/5 from nomads currently living in the cities. As for quality of life, high scorers include Melbourne, Amsterdam, Toulouse and Montréal.
Whatever your out of office vibe, these cities have plenty to offer.
We assessed 30 cities on 10 different factors that may be important to freelancers. All data was collected in April 2020. To standardise our results and help rank the cities – we need to crown a winner, after all – a formula was applied to rank each factor evenly between 1-10. The formula used was:
Score(i) = 10 * ( ( (x(i) - x(min) ) / ( (x(max) - x(min) ) )
A final score was calculated by adding up the points awarded across all ten factors.
Employment rate (% of total population over 15 years of age in employment; date of data: September 2019) – sourced from https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.EMP.TOTL.SP.ZS
Salary (average monthly net salary after tax in £; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/
Co-Working Spaces (sum of number of desks, private offices and meeting rooms; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.coworker.com/map
Commute dissatisfaction (estimation of dissatisfaction due to long commute times; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.numbeo.com/traffic/rankings_current.jsp
Internet speed (Fixed broadband (Mbps; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.speedtest.net/global-index
Cost of living (combines Rent Index, Cost of Living Plus Rent Index, Groceries & Restaurant Indices, Local Purchasing Power Index; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings_current.jsp
Average monthly rent (rent per month in a one bedroom in the city centre in £; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/prices_by_city.jsp?displayCurrency=GBP&itemId=27&itemId=26
Healthcare (Healthcare Index, based on residents’ survey; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.numbeo.com/health-care/rankings_current.jsp
Leisure activities score (Leisure Quality % using metric ‘Fun’; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://nomadlist.com/?sort=leisure_quality&order=desc
Quality of life (combines the following Indices: Purchasing Power, Safety, Health Care, Cost of Living, Property Price to Income Ratio, Traffic Commute Time, Pollution, Climate; data is updated regularly) – sourced from https://www.numbeo.com/quality-of-life/rankings_current.jsp
Cities sourced via https://nomadlist.com, Payoneer Global Freelancing Index 2019, Payoneer 2020 Freelancer Income Report, Freelancer.com, QotoQot and Envato.