RelocationTalent Retention

Moving the Skills Gap Needle

New research shows how relocation programs are driving a skilled, satisfied workforce.

By Larry Basinait

In recent years, global mobility has been an effective strategy leveraged by HR leaders to help attract and retain talent into their organizations. A new research report from HRO Today and CapRelo, Employee Relocation a Powerful Tool for Career Development, examines the current drivers and benefits of mobility programs.

There are many reasons why an organization would relocate an employee. Those reasons include the following.

  1. Relocation for training can improve skills and knowledge. Relocating employees for training can expose them to new perspectives and ideas—and give them the opportunity to learn new skills and techniques that can benefit their work.
  2. Relocation can boost job satisfaction and retention. Providing employees with opportunities for professional development and career growth through relocation for training can increase their job satisfaction and motivation, while boosting engagement and loyalty.
  3. Organizations can experience cost savings. Relocating employees for training can also be cost-effective for employers. Instead of hiring external trainers or sending employees for off-site training, employers can utilize their own facilities and resources, which can result in cost savings.
  4. A mobility opportunity can improve teamwork and collaboration. Relocating employees for training can provide opportunities for employees from different departments or locations to work together and build relationships, leading to improved teamwork and collaboration.

Employee relocation can bring many positive returns to employers, but is it a powerful tool to address the skills gap many organizations are facing?

There were six key findings produced by this research.

1. The skills gap impacts virtually every organization. Virtually every respondent (96%) agreed they have a skills gap, and nearly one in five respondents consider the skills gap very significant or significant. The skills gap in the workforce is a major concern. According to a recent study by McKinsey, most companies worldwide—87%—are aware that they either already have a skills gap or will have one within the next five years. Further, HRO Today’s 2022 Top Concerns of CHROs report found that few CHROs reported making significant progress in addressing the skills gap in 2022; only 38% reported even moderate progress, reflecting the same self-assessment made in 2020.

2. Addressing the skills gap is of major importance. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents consider addressing the skills gap in their organization as essential or a high priority. This reflects the view that the gap is significant now and will become more so over the next several years. Having skilled workers is essential for creating and sustaining businesses, and skilled workers drive innovation and productivity in the economy. By providing workers with the necessary skills, businesses can expand and hire more workers, leading to job growth. Exacerbating the need to address the current skills gap, the skills needed in the workforce are also changing rapidly as technology continues to advance. Addressing the skills gap ensures that workers have the necessary tools to work with new technologies and adapt to changing job requirements.

Advancing a lack in skills through programs can also help promote social mobility by providing workers with the skills they need to advance in their careers and earn higher wages. This can help reduce income inequality and provide opportunities for upward mobility. Overall, addressing the skills gap is a priority because it contributes to economic growth, job creation, innovation, social mobility, and long-term workforce development. It helps bridge the divide between employer demands and the available skills in the workforce, leading to more productive, resilient, and inclusive societies.

More than eight in 10 (81%) feel relocation is very effective or effective in recruiting employees, while relocation effectiveness for career development (76%) and employee retention (71%) are viewed as nearly as high. 

3. There is a broad array of measures being used to address the skills gap. Chief among these measures is offering mentorship opportunities, used by nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents. Holding in-house workshops was the second most often used measure to address the skills gap. Upskilling employees to add new skills and improve performance in their current role was selected by two-thirds (66%) of respondents. Upskilling focuses on employees’ developing new competencies to improve in their current roles.

4. Approximately two-thirds of respondents use relocation to address the skills gap in their organization. The areas relocation applies to are career development, recruiting, and retention. Relocation can provide employees with new opportunities for career development. Moving to a new city or country can help employees broaden their skills and experience. It can also help them develop new networks and connections and expose them to new cultures and ways of thinking. If an employee sees relocation as a stepping stone to a higher position, they may be more likely to accept and embrace the relocation, which can enhance their job satisfaction and increase their commitment to the organization.

In some cases, relocation may be linked to job security, especially when organizations are expanding their operations or consolidating certain functions in specific locations. If employees perceive relocation to secure their employment, they may be more inclined to stay with the company. Organizations that effectively manage the relocation process, provide comprehensive support, and consider the unique needs of employees and their families are more likely to positively influence employee retention.

Nearly 66% of respondents use relocation to address the skills gap in their organization.

5. Employee relocation is seen as an effective way to achieve career development, recruiting, and retaining employees. More than eight in 10 (81%) feel relocation is very effective or effective in recruiting employees, while relocation effectiveness for career development (76%) and employee retention (71%) are viewed as nearly as high. This finding is supported by recent research from LinkedIn. According to a LinkedIn poll, 87% of professionals were more likely to respond positively to relocating for a job or their career. Research also shows that even though the number of people moving has decreased over the previous year, the demand for workforce mobility around the world is still being driven by job opportunities.

6. The frequency employee relocation is used to develop employees will increase in the future. Looking forward, 42% expect an increase in the amount of relocation used to develop employees in three years, seven times the amount that expect a decline.

Tags: November 2023

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