One-quarter of global firms increasing employee relocations: Survey

76 per cent offer incentives to encourage relocation
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 05/09/2013

More than one-third (36 per cent) of firms around the globe saw relocation volumes increase in 2012 and almost one-third (30 per cent) saw budgets increase as well, according to a survey by Atlas Van Lines.

Nearly one-half (45 per cent) of large firms experienced an increase in volumes. Internationally, the trends also reflect positive statistics with nearly one-half of firms handling international relocations citing an increase in volume.

Expectations for 2013 reveal that roughly six in 10 firms expect volumes and budgets to stay at 2012 levels, with more than one-quarter (27 per cent) of firms expecting further increases in relocation volumes overall and internationally, found the poll of 415 employers around the globe.

"Since the drastic decrease in overall relocation volume hit in 2009, the industry has pushed through and held steady," said Jack Griffin, president and COO of Atlas World Group. "This year proves to be another positive sign for corporate America and the economy's effect on relocation."

On average, companies relocated 20 to 49 employees in 2012. Forty-six per cent of companies state that the growth of the company had the most significant impact on the number of employee relocations in 2012.

The majority of companies are offering full reimbursement for transferees (63 per cent) and new hires (53 per cent), which historically has been the most popular form of reimbursement.

After a switch in 2011, the Midwest (37 per cent) is back on top as the most popular destination within the U.S. However, the Northeast and South are not far behind (31 per cent), tied as the second most-popular destination to transfer.

Within a single country, the U.S. ranks third (30 per cent) behind Western Europe and Asia (tied at 31 per cent) for the most relocations in 2012.

Asia remains the most frequent relocation destination (43 per cent) for transferees relocating from the U.S. to another country or region. Western Europe (31 per cent) and the United Kingdom (25 per cent) complete the top three most popular destinations for transferees relocating internationally from the U.S.

More than one-half (52 per cent) of all relocations last year were new hires. Employees age 36 to 40 still remain the most frequently relocated salaried employees for 2012 (40 per cent).

The reluctance toward moving is in a downward trend. Down three per cent from 2011, 54 per cent of employees declined the opportunity to relocate in 2012. However, the majority of firms (76 per cent) indicate they offered incentives to encourage employee relocations in 2012.

Extending temporary housing benefits was the most popular incentive and was offered by nearly two-thirds of firms across company size. Relocation bonuses (48 per cent), loss-on-sale protection (38 per cent) and cost of living adjustments (37 per cent) round out the top four incentives offered.

The top three reasons employees or new hires were reluctant to relocate include:

• housing and mortgage concerns (65 per cent)
• family issues/ties (61 per cent)
• spouse's/partner's employment (45 per cent).

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