The cities of the future and the future of work depend upon one vital element: people. 


While cities concentrate on macro issues – transportation, infrastructure, economy, technology and systems – people focus on their daily lives. As they go from home to work or gather with family and friends, they carry with them their everyday needs and wants: An affordable home. A speedy commute. A good school. A feeling of safety in the streets and satisfaction at work. A place to have fun or meet someone new. Simply put, they want three things: a better life, a safe life, and a connected life.


Around the world, there are extraordinary growth opportunities for cities, businesses and individuals. Cities in growth economies are on a trajectory to reach one billion new consumers in the next decade.  They are the emerging megacities with the potential to leapfrog over today’s overgrown capitals and learn from their mistakes and missteps. With this growth, comes aggressive competition for highly skilled workers.


Mercer has undertaken one of the biggest studies of its kind. People First: Driving Growth in Emerging Megacities was conducted in 15 current and future megacities across seven countries, with 7,200 workers and 577 employers. Download the global research report to understand what really matters to people in the cities in which they live and work, discover actionable strategies about what needs to be done better and differently, and please check back with us here for additional updates. 


The focus of the study is to understand the under-examined yet highly critical human and social factors contributing to how cities function and prosper – and what motivates people to move to, stay within or leave a particular city or employer.


In studying the emerging megacities from workers’ perspectives, we focus on four inter-related decision-making factors: human, health, money and work. 





What are people’s expectations and how well are the cities actually performing in delivering on what is important to them? Based on a city’s current performance against each of the factors, we developed a Global City Index and ranked the 15 current and future megacities.

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