Trends Reshape Relocation Strategy in 2021

Corporate relocation strategies have evolved in response to the lingering global pandemic. A new study from IMPACT Group has produced several insights useful for planning and plotting your relocation strategy.

Data to Help Reshape Your Relocation Strategy

Here are some of the study’s highlights:

Top Two Mobility Concerns – Out of six mobility-related issues, respondents ranked “Legal and Compliance issues” as No. 1 and “Filling Positions / Getting People to Move” as No. 2.
Dual-Career Couples – More than a third of participants say it’s become increasingly difficult to attract dual-career couples to relocate because they fear one spouse will lose career momentum or suffer job loss.

Relocation Volumes – We asked how domestic relocation volumes in 2021-2022 will compare to pre-pandemic levels. 45% expect them to be the same, 41% expect a decrease, and 8% expect an increase in intra-country relocation. The same question regarding global (international) relocations generated somewhat similar answers: 38% same, 44% decrease, and 11% increase.

Remote Work Effect on Relocation – Nearly half said they are moving toward remote work policies that will likely reduce the number of domestic relocations. About 90% of participants say their organizations offer some remote work now – either temporarily due to the pandemic or previously available for some positions.

Value of Global Mobility – 64% said their organization values the skills and experience gained from global assignments. Nearly 70% believe that many workers continue to seek employers that offer global relocation opportunities. Both statistics affirm the enduring value of mobility within many corporate cultures.


About IMPACT Group’s Global Mobility Trends 2020-2021 Study

More than 120 professionals in HR, talent acquisition, or mobility participated in the survey from September-October 2020. Nearly 40% of survey respondents say their organizations relocate more than 100 employees per year.

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Three Added Trends Driving Relocation Strategy Change

These three trends are exceedingly relevant for talent acquisition leaders offering remote assignments or full-time job opportunities that require a move:

  1. Young people are delaying marriage and home buying. Millennials don’t aspire to home ownership as enthusiastically as older generations.
  2. Young adults are much more likely to suffer from loneliness. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is top of mind for many young adults.
  3. Fewer spouses are “secondary” income contributors. Both partners are likely to be more equitably compensated and have strong career aspirations.

Here are some recent statistics that align with these trends:

  • More Marriages Experience Wage Equality – Nearly half of women now earn as much or more than their partners, according to a 2020 survey. Twenty-one percent (21%) of women surveyed said they make more than their partners, and 26% said they made the same amount.1 (1 – TD AMERITRADE)
  • Reluctance to Move Is on the Rise – Twenty-nine percent (29%) of companies reported an increase in the number of employees that decline relocations.2
  • Additional Incentives is the Norm – To convince a key employee to take a relocation assignment, 90% of companies in 2019 report offering additional, non-standard incentives or policy exceptions. That number is up 30% since 2008 when just 60% offered extras.2
  • Corporates Recognize Impact of Partners’ Careers – For the sixth year in a row, roughly six in 10 firms indicate spousal/partner employment ‘almost always’ or ‘frequently’ affects relocations. This year’s percentage is the second highest ever recorded; the highest historical levels of employment assistance for spouses/partners are being offered, overall and internationally.2
  • Employee Loneliness May Thwart Relocation Success – Loneliness is the No. 1 fear of young people today – ahead of losing a home or a job. Forty-two percent (42%) of Millennial women fear loneliness more than cancer, according to VICELAND UK Census.
  • Millennials, Loneliness & Friendships – Three in 10 millennials say they often feel lonely. However, a majority (70%) of Millennials do report that they have at least one best friend.3

Your Relocation Strategy for Couples

Clearly your relocation strategy for couples should focus heavily on the needs of the partner. According to the Atlas World Group 2020 study cited above, some employers offer help with resumes or networking – that’s not enough. Today’s job search has changed. Recruiters are relying on artificial intelligence to mine databases. Candidates need a digital branding strategy. Your employees’ spouses need professional job search services offered by IMPACT Group or an equally qualified organization.

Your Relocation Strategy for Single Millennials

To attract young singles to accept a relocation assignment, you address their deep fear of loneliness head on.

Talk to your candidate about others who may want to make the move with them. Traveling in twos is appealing on many levels, including safety. Would a sibling, cousin, friend, mom, or dad be interested in relocation? Offering job search assistance and cultural integration services to the relocation partner could become an effective, low-cost relocation strategy to improve acceptance rates, reduce loneliness, increase engagement, and reduce turnover. Organizations may decide to trade the notion of “spouse / partner” for a broader term: “relocation partner” or “accompanying talent.”

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1 Half of Women Earn As Much As Their Husbands, TD Ameritrade
2 2020 Corporate Relocation Survey, Atlas World Group
3 Millennials Are the Loneliest Generation, YouGov