Amplifier Articles

Aha! Findings from the 2012 Corporate Relocation Survey

Aha! Findings from the 2012 Corporate Relocation Survey

Atlas Amplifier PDF (14.4 MB)

Since 1968, the annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey has reported on the issues surrounding corporate relocation and policy development. The Amplifier is pleased to share these snapshots from the 2012 survey. You can see the full report at:

The industry's recovery appears to have gained traction in 2011. Nearly half of firms saw volumes increase, and over a third say budgets increased as well. Large firms posted the biggest gains.

Overall, company expectations in 2012 for relocation volumes and budgets maintain improvement over 2009-2010, with expectations similar to 2011. The majority of companies responding expect volumes and budgets to remain fairly static, and roughly a fourth or more across company size expect volume and budget increases.

Question 6: Overall Relocation Volume

Question 6: Overall Relocation Volume

Compared to [last year] do you anticipate that the number of employees your company will relocate during [this year] will...

Although slightly less pronounced than for overall relocation, international volumes were bolstered last year, with 42% of firms reporting increases. Expectations for 2012 are similar to 2011. More than one-fourth of firms anticipate an increase, and over half expect levels similar to 2011. Expectations for increases are greatest among large firms.

Question 47b: International Relocation Volume

Question 47b: International Relocation Volume

Compared to [last year], do you anticipate that the number of employees your company will relocate internationally during [this year] will...

The impact of economic and market pressures appear to lessen further. In 2008 and 2009, roughly four of ten firms cited these factors in decreased relocation volumes for entry level/new hire employees and middle management. For 2010, the percentages fell to just over one-fourth; last year they fell to under one-fifth. Compared to recent years, far fewer firms of every size report a negative impact from these factors.

Question 8: Economic/Market Pressures Impact on Relocation Volumes

Question 8: Economic/Market Pressures Impact on Relocation Volumes

Over the past year, have economic/market pressures impacted your company’s relocation volumes for:

Most firms of all sizes say these pressures had no effect on the duration of assignments (long- or short-term). However, among firms impacted, twice as many reported that short-term assignments increased rather than decreased. Large firms are still the most likely to feel an impact on assignment length overall; far more saw the number of short-term assignments increase rather than decrease.

Two new questions yield fresh insight on alternative assignments. Just under half use such assignments, with mid-size and large firms more likely. The most-reported reason is, across company size, to meet strategic business goals. While overall roughly half cite the intent to maximize budget/corporate resources, less than a third use alternative assignments to replace long-term assignments, and less than one-sixth use them in place of short-term assignments.

Question 27a: vAlternative Assignment Use in Employee Mobility Policy

Question 27a: Alternative Assignment Use in Employee Mobility Policy

How are these "alternative assignments" incorporated into your organization's overall employee mobility strategy?

Over half of companies saw employees decline relocation in 2011, but less than one-fifth experienced an increase over 2010. Reluctance remained far below 2008 and 2009 levels. Historically, mid-size and large firms have been most affected. However, roughly a fifth or less of all firms cited year-to-year increases.

For the fourth year in a row, housing/mortgage concerns is the top reason for declined relocations. However, family issues/ties has steadily increased since 2009 and now holds similar weight. Overall, employee reluctance remains somewhat elevated and at levels similar to 2007, nearly double the 2002-2006 period.

Most firms offered incentives to encourage relocations. Extending temporary housing benefits was by far the most popular, used by three-fourths or more of all firms. Relocation bonuses and loss-on-sale protection round out the top three. Loss-on-sale protection was much more likely to be offered by large firms

Most firms used some form of cost containment in relocation policy/practice as well. The most popular measure at mid-size and small firms was capping relocation benefit amounts. For large firms, pre-decision counseling and reviewing/renegotiating supplier contracts were the top two measures used. About one fourth of large firms capped benefits in 2011.

Who Responded?

361 relocation professionals completed online questionnaires between January 10 and March 2. Respondents have responsibility for relocation and are employed by companies that have either relocated employees during the past two years or plan to relocate employees this year.

  • Most (82%) work in human resources/personnel or relocation/mobility services departments for firms in:
    • service (39%)
    • manufacturing/processing (30%)
    • wholesale/retail (10%)
    • financial (12%)
    • government/military (2%)
    • other (6%)
  • Size of Firms Represented:
    • Small: Fewer than 500 salaried employees (32%)
    • Mid-Size: 500-4,999 salaried employees (38%)
    • Large: 5,000+ salaried employees (30%)
  • Over half (57%) are international firms.


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