London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

It takes 100 hours longer to earn enough money to buy an iPhone in Poland as it does in the UK.

This insight into earning power by researchers at the financial services company UBS helps to demonstrate why overseas workers find London an attractive city to find a job.

But their findings also show that while the earning potential may be better, London is an expensive city with prices much higher than they are in the place many Londoners once called home.

UBS took 68,000 pieces of data from 71 cities around world to put together an index which looks at costs and the spending power of people working there.

London is ranked as the 5th most expensive city after New York, Zurich, Geneva and Oslo and 6th most expensive if rents are excluded. When it comes to take home pay, the amount we earn after tax, London trails in 11th in the list.

And UBS came up with some interesting measures of spending power. Using a new iPhone as a benchmark they examined how long the average worker would take to earn the cash to buy one. In New York it takes 3 working days. In London it’s 41 hours, in Warsaw 141, but the longest labour was in Kiev.

Iphone earnings

Across the globe it is much quicker to eat a Big Mac than to earn the money to buy one. In London it takes 12 minutes and in Warsaw twice that. In Nairobi it’s nearly 3 hours.

Big Mac earnings

Many can happily avoid the indulgence of a new smartphone or a burger and the real cost of living is measured in essentials such as food and housing.

UBS looked at a shopping basket of 39 common food items including bread, milk, meat, fish and vegetables. Many arriving in London to work will have realised that it is much more expensive to feed the family, unless you have moved from New York or Zurich. The average global price for the basket of goods was $400. Prices were highest in Zurich and lowest in Kiev. London was 8th most expensive of the 71 cities

 

USB has published the Price and Earnings Index every three year since 1971.

See also

London expensive? Not compared to being an expat in Luanda

What National Insurance really tells us about London’s overseas workforce