Cushman & Wakefield Healey & Baker yesterday presented its European Cities Monitor 2004, a survey on Europe’s major business cities. The study examines the issues companies regard as important in deciding where to locate, and compares how Europe’s leading business cities perform on each issue. Senior Executives from 500 European companies gave their views.
The principle findings are:
The leading cities for business
- In the overall rating of best cities for business the top cities of London and Paris continue to lead by some margin.
- Munich moves up to 8th, overtaking Berlin and Milan. Zurich re-enters the top 10.
- Prague (17th to 13th) and Stockholm (18th to 15th) make good advances, while the other cities to move up this year are: Hamburg (20th to 19th), Warsaw (22nd to 20th), Vienna (24th to 22nd), Rome (26th to 25th), Moscow (28th to 27th), Helsinki (29th to 28th), and Athens (30th to 29th).
- Birmingham and Luxembourg head the list of other cities threatening to break into the top 30.
The key factors in deciding where to locate
- Access to markets again leads from the availability of qualified staff as the single most important factor.
- Communication factors remain the most important.
- Cost factors come next, with cost of staff the most important of these. Quality of life factors are the least significant. Languages spoken is becoming increasingly important.
- London is the top rated city for the availability of qualified staff, for access to markets and international transport links, for telecommunications, availability of office space, internal transport and for languages spoken.
- Warsaw is top for the cost of staff and the value for money of offices, Dublin again comes top for the climate created by government, Barcelona again for quality of life, and Stockholm for freedom from pollution.
- As is to be expected, the importance of factors varies a little by type of company. The cost of staff is more important to industrial companies, while cost and availability of offices are more important for service companies.
Impact on business
- Companies were asked which of a series of factors was most likely to impact on their business over the next ten years. Competition from Asia is now seen to be the most significant factor.
- Enlargement of the EU is the second most significant factor, with the performance of the US economy next.
- More than a quarter (26%) of companies sampled had relocated or outsourced operations to another country in the last three years.
- Eastern and central Europe has been the favoured destination, followed by elsewhere in western Europe. India has been the top destination outside Europe.
- A fifth of companies (18%) plan to relocate or outsource operations in the next two years. Again, eastern and central Europe is the favoured destination.
Future city roles within Europe
- London has extended its lead over Frankfurt as the perceived future financial capital.
- Most believe that the UK staying out of the eurozone has not harmed London’s position to date, though believe it will do so over the medium term.
- Paris is seen clearly as the best city in Europe for conferences and exhibitions.
- Warsaw is the city that can expect the biggest influx of companies over the next five years, with 44 of our sampled companies expecting to locate there.
- Moscow, Prague, and Budapest can also expect a healthy inflow of companies. Paris, Lisbon, Madrid and Rome are the most popular nominations among the more established business cities.
- Worldwide, Shanghai is the clear favourite