The annual report of “European Cities Monitor” issued by Cushman & Wakefield, which gives assessment on the environment for the launching and developing of business companies in 34 cities, placed Athens at the bottom of its list yet another time. For the 20th time, the first place belongs to London, and Paris and Frankfurt are on second and third position. The particularly attractive Spanish cities Barcelona and Madrid took fourth and fifth place, respectively, in the list for 2009.
The annual analysis is based on interviews conducted with 500 high-ranking employees in big international companies, dealing with the selection of their companies’ location. The research focuses on the questions “what is the most favorable city to conduct business in right now” and “which city is suitable for establishing a company right now”, according to the business community.
Commenting on the situations in the Greek capital, Niki Simbura, Cushman & Wakefield managerial advisor for Athens, says: “Regarding the assessment of the separate aspects, Athens has improved only in relation to the provision of office buildings.”
According to businessmen, Athens requires urgent changes in order for companies to see it as a possibility to start and develop businesses.
The data analysis places Athens on 32nd position among cities with easy access to markets and customers, falling 4 positions from last year. the city has lost four positions also regarding the recruitment of qualified labor.
Another sector of decreased quality is telecommunications, while among the cities with best developed transport communications, Athens holds firm 31st position.
In regard to personnel salaries, Athens is a relatively cheap city and is on 11th place. However, the business climate that the government creates in attempt to attract foreign investment needs improvement- the city is on the unfavorable 31 position.
The city also holds the warning last position in respect of personnel’s command of foreign languages, as well as public transportation. The city’s ranking on the rest of the criteria only confirms the unpleasant reality that Athens is uncompetitive and experiences obstacles in attracting foreign investment.
London, on the other hand, remains the most attractive city businesswise, including the criteria for easy access to markets, internal and external transportation, well developed city infrastructure, quality labor, quality of telecommunications and language command. However, the city is ranked low in regard of personnel compensation, (i.e. labor is expensive, not underpaid), and office rent prices.
Impressive is the progress of Warsaw- it is expected to be the city with the most new company establishments for the next five years.
Warsaw is making an impressive progress, ranking highest among the cities expected to host the most foreign companies in the next five years. It left behind Moscow, which took second place. Currently, Bucharest is the cheapest city in regard of the value of personnel salaries, followed by Istanbul and Budapest. Sofia is not among the cities listed.