When you picture the most influential cities in Europe, the major capitals and metropolitan hubs likely come to mind. But do you know how these cities actually stack up in terms of talent, location and cost — several of the key factors that determine how attractive an office market is?

Colliers’ Cities of Influence index scores 20 European cities on a wide range of factors, including:

In each of these considerations, London and Paris emerged in the top spots. Paris is the leading market when it comes to output/orientation, future skills and capacity and affordability/cost. Paris scores particularly strongly when it comes to the size/experience of the latent talent pool, driven by higher levels of short-term unemployment than those available in London.

Yet when it comes to the final results, factoring in market risk, London takes the reins. The UK’s labor laws are more relaxed in London than in Paris, which has been a major driver of business location decisions in favor of London.


The top five “Cities of Influence” markets

Rounding out the top five markets are Manchester, Stockholm and Dublin. In terms of output/orientation, Manchester ranked as low as 17th, but the combination of high scores for its strong latent talent/future skills pool, high affordability and low cost move the market up in the rankings.

Stockholm is a steady strong performer throughout all sectors. The current orientation of the economy and the skills/experience of the inherent workforce put the market at the forefront when it comes to building a digitally sophisticated economy. Dublin also does very well for very similar reasons. Strong English language skills and proficiency are also a clear advantage for these cities over other European locations.

The bottom-ranking markets of Milan, Budapest and Brussels raise an interesting question of whether their low scores represent risk or opportunity. Both Brussels and Milan are hindered by high relative costs and high country market risk. Brussels has the weakest score of all countries from a labor market regulation perspective and after the Italian referendum, this position is not much better for Milan. The Budapest score is also hindered by high country risk, but limited economic output/market orientation and future skills/capacity also play a role.

For more insights into where to find the best talent in Europe, explore Colliers’ Cities of Influence report.