Dhaka has once again ranked as the most expensive city in South Asia for international employees to live in, according to the Mercer's Cost of Living Survey 2022.
Despite dropping 58 positions in a year, Dhaka is still among the top 100 most expensive cities in the world for expatriates. It is also the only South Asian city among the top 100, said the report.
This year, Bangladesh's capital was ranked the 98th most expensive city for foreign employees while it was 40th in 2021 and 26th in 2020, indicating Dhaka is getting less expensive.
However, the city is still costlier for overseas workers to live in than some of the most developed cities in the world. Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur ranked 181st on the list, Qatar's Doha 133rd, Saudi Arabia's Jeddah 111th, Canada's Vancouver 108th, Thailand's Bangkok 106th, and Australia's Canberra 104th.
Released on Wednesday, this year's ranking includes 227 cities after surveying over 400 cities.
Researchers measured the comparative cost of more than 200 goods and services, including housing, transportation, food, clothing, household goods, and entertainment, in each location.
New York City was used as the base city for all comparisons and currency movements are measured against the US dollar. The cost comparisons were derived from the survey conducted in March this year.
In the South Asian table, Mumbai (127th), New Delhi (155th), Chennai (177th) and Bengaluru (178th) from India are listed as less costly for overseas workers to live in than Dhaka.
Even Sri Lanka's capital Colombo – ranked 183rd globally – is less costly than Dhaka.
It is followed by Hyderabad (192nd), Pune (201st), and Kolkata (203rd) in South Asia.
Pakistan's Islamabad and Karachi are named as the least expensive city for expatriates in South Asia, ranked 224th and 223rd respectively. The cities are also the fourth and fifth least expensive in the world.
At the other end of the table, the cheapest places for international employees to live were Ankara in Türkiye, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan and Dushanbe in Tajikistan.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong has once again ranked as the world's costliest city for expatriates, followed by Zurich (2nd) and three other Swiss cities – Geneva (3rd), Basel (4th) and Bern (5th).
Four out of 10 most expensive cities to live in for the international assignees are located in Asia.
Mercer's cost of living data together with its mobility research and the learnings from Mercer's work with clients indicates that the rise of remote and flexible working, the war in Ukraine, exchange rate variations and widespread inflation are having a material impact on employees' pay and savings, which may have serious consequences for employers in the global battle for talent.
Yvonne Traber, partner at Mercer and global head for the Mobility Business said, "The volatility triggered by Covid-19 and further worsened by the crisis in Ukraine has fueled global economic and political uncertainty. This uncertainty, coupled with significant rising inflation in most of the countries around the world, has international assignees concerned about their purchasing power and socio-economic stability."