Annual research shows that organizations continue to leverage relocation toÂ fill talent gaps.
By Debbie Bolla
For organizations aiming to have the right person inÂ the right role at the right time, mobility programsÂ can provide a valuable opportunity to fill keyÂ skill gaps. And these programs also benefit theÂ workforce; relocation offers employees the chanceÂ to develop additional skills and gain sought-afterÂ experience. Companies are adopting a variety ofÂ approaches to relocation, often driven by marketÂ factors. For example, many are considering short-termÂ assignments, international transfers, and rotationalÂ programs to hit their business goals.
The annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey looksÂ at demographic, geopolitical, and economic shifts toÂ understand the dynamics of the industry. This yearâsÂ research shows five different trends organizationsÂ should take into consideration when designing theirÂ programs.
1. A wide variety of factors impact relocationÂ volumes. At the heart of it, securing qualified talentÂ has been a main driver of mobility programs. TheÂ survey looks at several others, including companyÂ growth, the state of the economy, the real estateÂ market, and political conditions. Findings include:
- Company growth this year remains flat at 39Â percent, with the same percentage of firms reportingÂ that their relocation volume is impacted by newÂ offices or global expansion.
- The economy is a consideration for relocationÂ volume, as reported by 21 percent of respondents.
- The real estate market is having a greater impact onÂ volume, according to 19 percent of business leaders,Â up from 11 percent in the previous year.
- Over the last five years, political and regulatoryÂ issues, including visa/immigration restrictions andÂ Brexit, have become a rising trend.
2. Approaches to relocation assignments remainÂ diverse. In keeping with years past, 80 percent ofÂ relocation professionals manage domestic policies andÂ 78 percent manage international relocations. OtherÂ policies include permanent international transfersÂ (66 percent); short-term/temporary assignments (59Â percent); international localization (57 percent);Â extended business travel policies (49 percent); andÂ long-distance commuter arrangements (44 percent).
Relocation programs often have two or more of theÂ above policies and typically operate in levels or tiers.Â Levels are determined by a variety of factors, but theÂ main two are job/grade level and position/job title.
3. Organizations continue to offer robust benefits.Â This yearâs survey took a deeper dive into whatÂ benefits organizations provide to transferees. It foundÂ that the top components are:
- travel expenses-final move (54 percent);
- temporary housing (53 percent); and
- household goods shipping (50 percent).
Large firms are more likely to deliver cost as a coreÂ benefit, with nearly half offering it as fixed benefit.
4. Family concerns are the main reason employeesÂ are declining transfer opportunities. For the sixthÂ year in a row, respondents name family as the topÂ reason for not accepting a relocation opportunity.Â Coming in second is employment of spouses/partners.Â These results indicate that employees most oftenÂ pass on relocations because they have a dual-incomeÂ household and family commitments. While housingÂ and mortgage concerns remain a reason to declineÂ relocation opportunities, they are at their lowestÂ point in more than 15 years, according to the survey.
5. Incentives are often necessary to overcomeÂ relocation concerns. Trending for the last five years,Â organizations are expanding their offerings to includeÂ incentives. These are delivered for some assignmentsÂ to encourage potential transferees to enter theÂ relocation program. Popular incentives includeÂ relocation/sign-on bonuses and extended temporaryÂ housing.
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