The U.S. Relocation Market
The percentage of U.S. job seekers relocating for new employment has fallen significantly since the late 1980s, when over one-third of job seekers were willing to move for a new position. Just 11 percent of job seekers relocated for work over the past decade compared to 19 percent who relocated for new positions in the previous decade, according to 2019 data released by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray and Christmas.
The Atlas 2018 survey provides a cross-section of relocation volume changes by company size. They further reported median employee relocation volume was 20-49 in 2017 (small companies report 1-9, mid-size companies 20-49, and large companies 200-399).The Atlas 2018 survey provides a cross-section of relocation volume changes by company size. They further reported median employee relocation volume was 20-49 in 2017 (small companies report 1-9, mid-size companies 20-49, and large companies 200-399). And, only 43% of these companies said their volume was going to stay about the same. Another 35% expected some increase.
What drives volume up or down? Most typically, two powerful forces – business necessity and cost.
Getting right people in right job is still top priority, however, technology, a tight labor market and resistence to relocation is causing work to increasingly go to or be where the right people are.
Relocation is a costly investment. With traditional packages for homeowners $100,000 or more and for renters $20,000 or more. And, relocation presents higher turnover risk and costs; almost double.
As, as of 2018, core relocation benefits - moving household goods, temporary living and final move trip became 100% taxable. This increased the cost of relocation significantly and corporate leadership did not see that overall corporate tax cut savings were transferred to offset higher relocation costs.
Grappling with both talent necessity and cost remains one of the top CEO challenges of any size company.
Relocation is always going to be required in certain business situations. However, what many companies have been doing and continuing to do is move to a relocation cost-sharing model with the transferee. Relocation policies are looking more like health care benefits where there is a cost-sharing model along with giving employee choices and control over more decision making and expectations to take more responsibility to be accountable for process, costs and overall outcome. Companies are finding that this method is working for both the company and transferees. The policies and benefits of “we will make you whole” regardless of life-style and cost are nearly extinct, and not expected to return.