2001 Corporate Relocation Survey


2001 Survey of Corporate Relocation Policies

Resulting Factors
Atlas Van Lines' 34th Annual Corporate Relocation Survey

This information is based upon the findings of Atlas Van Lines' 34th annual Corporate Relocation Survey, conducted in January and February 2001 with 301 companies participating. The research was conducted by an outside firm. Responses are sorted by company size according to the following: small (fewer than 500 employees); medium (500 to 4999 employees); and large (5000 or more employees). Unless otherwise noted, all data is in reference to domestic relocations occurring in 2000.

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As seen in the Atlas Amplifier
Volume 49 — Summer 2001

Q.21: External Factors Graph
EXTERNAL FACTORS: Economic concerns are viewed as the highest percentage outside influence affecting employee transfers.

Participants Cite the Economy

Nearly one-third (31 percent) of survey respondents said external conditions impacted the number of employee transfers in their companies during 2000, and 85 percent of those said the economy was the most significant factor making that impact. In comparison, 59 percent of participating companies last year cited the economy as a significant factor (Q. 21). In addition, 44 percent of this year's respondents — up from 38 percent the year before — cited growth of domestic competition as an external factor that impacted their companies' employee transfers (Q. 21).

When asked whether internal factors made an impact on the number of employee transfers during 2000 (Q. 22), 54 percent of participants said yes. While the same percentage of last year's survey respondents answered yes to this question, the ranking of internal factors affecting employee transfers changed. Corporate reorganization, ranked as the seventh most important internal factor during 1999, moved up to third place for 2000. Expansion into new territories was bumped from third to fourth place. In both the 2000 and the 2001 surveys, company growth and promotions/resignations, respectively, ranked as the number one and number two factors impacting employee transfers.

Q.22: Internal Factors Graph
INTERNAL FACTORS: A move up or a move out are what our respondents listed as the largest internal influence for a relocation with a company.

There was a considerable drop in the percentage of small companies who expect employee transfers to increase during the coming year (Q. 20). In last year's survey, 24 percent of respondents from small companies said they expected employee relocations to increase in the coming year. Only nine percent anticipate a rise in transfers this year. Twenty-one percent of participants from medium-size companies expect employee transfers to decrease this year, compared to 14 percent in last year's survey.

Administration of the Move

The survey this year indicates that more companies than ever have established formal relocation policies (Q. 5). Compared to last year, the number of respondents who reported that their companies have a formal relocation policy rose overall from 71 to 87 percent, with small companies demonstrating the most notable jump. Seventy-three percent of small companies reported that they have formal relocation policies, as compared to 54 percent during the previous year — an increase of 19 percent.

The outsourcing of relocation services is also up (Q. 24). A total of fifty-three percent of respondents said their companies outsource the administration of relocation services, up from 40 percent reported in last year's survey. Real estate took the number one spot in the lineup of outsourced services. This year, 90 percent of participants said their companies outsource real estate services compared to 79 percent last year. Bumped from first to second place was household goods transportation, which lost five percentage points (from 80 to 75 percent).

The Personal Side

Perhaps the most notable shift in this year's look at the personal side of relocation was the increase in the number of companies who reported that more employees declined the opportunity to relocate (Q. 37a). Fifty percent of respondents said one or more employees declined a relocation while 39 percent reported last year that one or more employees turned down the opportunity to move.

Q37b: Relocation Declination in 2000 Graph
RELOCATION DECLINATION: Most saw family ties as the strongest reason to decline a relocation in 2000.

There was a surprising change in the reported length of time employees are afforded to accept or decline their company's transfer offer (Q. 22b). Twenty-four percent of survey respondents this year stated that their company's employees have one week or less to accept or decline the offer to relocate, compared to fourteen percent last year.

Q20: 2001 Relocation Anticipation Charts
2001 RELOCATION ANTICIPATION: While there was considerable drop in the percentage of small companies which expect increased relocation activities, 31% of the larger companies still expect relocation activities to increase (compared to 32% last year).

A shift in the breakdown of accompanying spouses surfaced in this year's survey (Q. 18/19). The numbers in the 2001 survey indicate that of those relocations that involved an accompanying spouse last year, 45 percent were wives, compared to 60 percent during the previous year. In addition, this year's survey for the first time asked for the percentage of accompanying spouses who were husbands. Participants' responses indicated that 12 percent of accompanying spouses during 2000 were husbands. Atlas will continue to track the gender of accompanying spouses.

Q24: Outsourcing of Services Pie Chart
OUTSOURCING OF SERVICES: The outsourcing of services is up. Fifty-three percent of respondents said their companies outsource the administration of relocation services (compared to 40% last year).

On the same note, it appears that companies are more willing to provide a job for the accompanying spouse in the new location (Q. 23). Eighty-eight percent of this year's respondents reported that their companies allow the hiring of the spouse of the transferred employee within the company, compared to 79 percent last year.

Q23: Allowance of Hiring of Spouses of Employees Charts
ALLOWANCE OF HIRING OF SPOUSES OF EMPLOYEES: The percentage of companies willing to provide a job for trailing spouses remains high at 88% (compared to 79% last year).

A change in the most common age range for transferees also took shape in the survey. This year, seventy-one percent of respondents said their most frequently-transferred employees were from 31 to 40 years old, compared to 58 percent who named this age group in the previous survey. While 20 percent of participants last year said their most frequently-transferred employees were 25 to 30 years of age, only seven percent this year cited that age group as the most mobile.