Three-Year Comparison Of Corporate Moving Trends: Economy and 9-11 Impact Employee Relocation


April 23, 2002


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(EVANSVILLE, Ind.) -- A three-year comparison of Atlas Van Lines' Corporate Relocation Survey — which examines internal and external factors that impact employee moves -- illustrates that corporate relocations have dwindled, company growth has slowed considerably, and more people are available now for employment. Ten percent of respondents in the 2002 survey said the events of September 11, 2001 made an impact on employee relocations during the remainder of that year.

The annual survey sorts response data into three categories:

Small companies - Fewer than 500 salaried employees
Medium companies - 500-4,999 salaried employees
Large companies - 5,000 or more salaried employees

This year's data was compiled from the responses of 302 participating companies. Full survey results and the three-year data comparison chart can be found on the Atlas Web site: atlasvanlines.com. The 2002 relocation survey reflects corporate relocation during 2001; the 2001 survey reflects corporate activity during 2000, and so on.

Available Labor, Economy, 9-11 Impact Relocation
When asked which external factors had the greatest impact on the number of employee relocations during the year (Q. 20), the lack of qualified people locally placed as the number two external factor in the 2000, 2001 and 2002 surveys, but there is a marked drop in the frequency of this response over the three-year span, suggesting that more people are now available for employment. This year, five percent of large companies said the lack of qualified people was a concern while 44 percent of large companies cited lack of qualified people in the 2000 survey. Of total sample, 21 percent in this year's survey said lack of qualified people was a concern versus 52 percent who said the same in 2002.

Respondents named economic conditions as the number one external factor impacting employee relocation in all three surveys, as well, but the frequency of this response escalated considerably. On average, 59 percent of participants in the 2000 survey said the economy had an impact on employee relocation during the previous year, compared to 77 percent (of total sample) who reported the same in the 2002 survey. Small companies showed the biggest change of heart, with 82 percent voicing their concern with the economy in the 2002 survey vs. 50 percent in the 2000 survey.

Overall, 10 percent of participating companies cited the events of September 11 as an external factor that impacted employee relocation. Sixteen percent of large companies cited 9-11 as a significant factor in the 2002 survey. Subsequent surveys will continue to track this response with a "terrorism" category.

Company Growth, Production and Expansion Dropped
The most notable internal corporate conditions cited for their impact on employee relocation (Q. 21) involved company growth, production, facility expansion and expansion into new territories.

On average, 76 percent of participants in the 2000 survey said growth of their companies had impacted employee moves while 37 percent (of total sample) in the 2002 survey said company growth had made an impact. Increased production lost its ranking this year as an internal factor impacting relocation. Finishing in 11th place (of total sample) with an 11 percent response rate in 2002, increased production ranked as the fifth-most prominent internal factor affecting relocation, with a 55 percent response rate, in the 2000 survey.

Both facility expansion and expansion into new territories have dropped significantly since the 2000 survey as factors that are impacting corporate relocation. While 56 percent (overall) of participants in the 2000 survey said facility expansion had impacted employee moves, only 22 percent said the same in the 2002 survey.

The "expansion into new territories" response dropped 40 percent between 2002 and 2000, with 64 percent of participating companies citing expansion in the 2000 survey and 24 percent citing expansion in the 2002 survey. There was also a sharp drop in the number of respondents who said promotions and resignations made an impact on the number of moves (from 74 percent in the 2000 survey to 38 percent in the 2002 survey, of total sample).

The Personal Side
There was a marked drop in the number of survey respondents this year who said "yes" when asked if any employees declined a relocation (Q. 36a). When asked what reasons employees gave for declining relocation (Q. 36b), fewer participants reported "no desire to move" and "personal" as reasons employees cited, suggesting that personal feelings played a smaller role in the employees' decision on whether to move. Even so, "family issues" has remained the number one reason employees gave for declining a relocation in the 2000-2002 surveys.

International Moves
Participants this year reported a notable drop in transfers from the U.S. to a foreign country (Q. 43), and an even larger dip in the number of transfers from a foreign country to the U.S.

In the 2000 survey (of total sample), participants said 45 percent of their company's international relocations were from the U.S. to a foreign country while 28 percent said the same in the 2002 survey. Participants in the 2000 survey said 40 percent of their company's international relocations were from a foreign country to the U.S. while in the 2002 survey, respondents said only 17 percent of their international relocations involved a move from the U.S. to a foreign country.

The full 2002 Atlas Van Lines Corporate Relocation Survey results and previous years' results can be found on the Atlas Web site, atlasvanlines.com.

Atlas Van Lines is North America's second-largest household goods mover with some 600 agents in the United States and Canada and more than 800 worldwide. Atlas specializes in corporate relocation and in the transport of high-value goods such as electronics, new fixtures, tradeshow exhibits and fine arts.

 

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