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August 16, 2022

Where are the world’s best cities for tech workers?

A new index has ranked global cities on their status as bases for tech workers.

By katharine swindells

Bern and Zürich are the best cities in the world to be tech workers, according to a new index by Scottish digital skills company Code Clan.

tech worker
Quality of life and broadband speed were some of the metrics used to compile the tech workers index. (Photo by AsiaVision/iStock)

The index, which used the 100 cities from Mercer’s Quality of Living ranking, and tracked five different indicators, found the two cities in Switzerland topped the list, with US cities like Atlanta, Washington DC and Seattle making up the rest of the top ten.

Using data from Glassdoor and Crunchbase, the index finds that Tokyo, London and Chicago have the highest number of tech companies, all with close to 10,000 offices in the city.

Factors for deciding the best city for tech workers

But when adjusted for the city’s population, it’s Zürich and Atlanta that lead, with 16 companies for every 1,000 people.

Another key deciding factor for those working in tech is broadband speed, especially as so many companies have settled on a hybrid working policy.

Data from Speed Test’s global broadband index shows Hong Kong, Singapore and Chile have the fastest average fixed broadband speeds in the world, putting their cities at the top of the list.

[Read more: How broadband speeds perpetuate inequality in US cities]

Meanwhile, Pointe-à-Pitre in the Caribbean, and San Juan in Puerto Rico, are at the bottom of the list, with average fixed broadband download speeds of less than 35Mbps.

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Of course, for tech workers the biggest deciding factor will be money. Unsurprising, San Francisco is the city that commands the highest tech salaries in the world, with an average tech salary of £108,000. It’s followed by Seattle (£106.4k), Zürich (£87.2k), and New York (£87.2k).

Tech worker salary vs rent

But many of these cities also command incredibly high rents – in San Francisco and New York average rents are over £2,500 a month. In New York, this amounts to 36.5% of the average salary; in San Francisco, 28% (though this isn’t including income taxes, which are particularly high in California).

In London, which has the seventh highest average rent on the list, the average tech salary is £53.4k, meaning you’d spend 40% of your pre-tax salary on housing.

In the play-off between salary and housing costs, it is US cities like Detroit or St Louis, or Swiss cities Bern or Basel, where you’re financially best off.

Weighting all the key indicators, Code Clan’s tech workers index finds that Bern, Zürich and Atlanta are the world’s best cities for tech workers, with Switzerland and the US taking up all but four of the top 20 spots.

Busan, South Korea, is the top Asian city and 21st place, while Santiago, Chile, is the top South American at 26th place.

[Read more: Housing disruption and inequality - The downsides of being a tech hub]

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