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Barcelona is southern Europe’s best city to live and work in

Compiled by NTT Data, the new City Talent Index 2022 highlights the city’s enterprise ecosystem, its excellent range of business schools and its very attractive lifestyle.

14/07/2023 - 10:25 h

Barcelona is the top Spanish city and the best city in southern Europe in the ranking for the City Talent Index 2022, which measures the capacity of cities to attract and retain talent. Specifically, the city ranked twelfth among the 32 European cities analysed, all of them included in the top 50 with high regional GDP and large populations. At the global level, the ranking is headed by London, followed by Paris and Zurich.

Compiled by the Tokyo-based global consulting company and with the collaboration of the Barcelona Global association, the report is based on 54 competitiveness-measurement indicators and takes into account factors that influence professional talent when they choose where to move to.

Out of the cities analysed, Barcelona ranks number one in terms of lifestyle thanks to its wide range of public services, such as mobility, transport and sanitation. The city is also seen as an essential tourist destination, which acts as a beacon for drawing talent.

Barcelona has a dynamic enterprise ecosystem and is very well positioned in terms of creating and consolidating start-ups in the city. It is also recognised in the sphere of education and ongoing training thanks to its business schools, which are ranked among the best in the world by the Financial Times.

The report discusses room for improvement on environmental indicators for the city, particularly in terms of protection and respect for surroundings. Finally, it defines Barcelona as a diverse and egalitarian city and points to its good results on indicators relating to gender, such as the low wage gap and healthy quota of women in management roles.

A city in search of excellence

On the flip side, what aspects should Barcelona be improving in terms of attracting and retaining talent? The report recommends boosting the business network by promoting and attracting major initiatives and projects, as well as perfecting its regulatory and tax framework with the rollout of the improvements offered by the recently approved law on start-ups.

Similarly, it sees a need to streamline and digitalise administrative procedures and apply measures to promote teleworking to help bring digital nomads and international research talent. It also proposes making the education system more international to attract a higher number of international students.

If Barcelona is to be turned into a centre of excellence in research, fostering innovation is fundamental as well, as are urban transformations to make the city a role model for sustainability. These factors are essential for attracting young talent.

Talent draws talent

Ultimately, Barcelona is a place that attracts and retains talent, but which also needs to keep working on the generation of new talent and the creation of worthwhile opportunities that stop local talent from going abroad. To this end, the report suggests that the city focus on education and ongoing training for professionals.