Outsourcing – Overall & International


Nearly two-thirds of companies outsourced relocation services in 2012, down significantly from the previous year's historic high and second successive year of increase. Historically, overall outsourcing falls in the mid-range, and the big drop is attributable primarily to large and mid-size firms. However, the vast majorities of these firms continue to outsource and typically require a greater variety of such services than do small firms.

  • Compared to last year, outsourcing decreased substantially across every service category, with two exceptions: real estate purchases (43%) and tax gross-up services (32%) remained similar to historic highs of the past decade (44%, 37%).
  • Overall, outsourcing across service categories trends along the higher end of the historical mid-range for most items.

Shifts by Company Size

  • Outsourcing among large firms is down substantially except for real estate purchase (66% vs. 69%), tax gross-up (48% vs. 53%), and audit/payment of invoice services (50% vs. 54%). These remain near historic highs.
  • Outsourcing among mid-size firms is noticeably down except for real estate purchase (50% vs. 48%), expense tracking/reimbursement (42% vs. 46%), and tax gross-up services (40% vs. 43%), which remain near or above historic highs.
  • Outsourcing behavior changed the least for small firms, with most not taking part. It remained nearly the same or down slightly across categories, but real estate purchases reached the highest level to date (19%).

A similar trend appears in international outsourcing. Two-thirds of companies outsourced relocation, down significantly from the historic high reached the year before. Overall, outsourcing falls in the mid-to-high range historically, and the drop reflects the behavior of firms of all sizes. However, the vast majorities of large and mid-size firms continue to outsource and typically outsource a greater variety of services than do small firms.

  • International outsourcing decreased for almost every service category. Despite significant declines, five remained well above the lows of the past decade: household goods carrier contract (45% vs. 54%), shipment monitoring (40% vs. 52%), intercultural/language training (38% vs. 47%), counseling about planning and details (36% vs. 46%), and counseling about company policy (30% vs. 41%). The largest drops in these occurred at mid-size firms.
  • Overall, international outsourcing trends on the higher end historically across company size.

Among companies that outsourced relocation services domestically in 2012, the percentage that also outsourced internationally remains near a ten-year high (86% vs. 88%). Large firms remain more likely to outsource internationally than mid-size firms. However, they show similar propensities across categories, except for destination services/orientation tours (63% vs. 40%), intercultural/language training (60% vs. 32%), securing rental property (59% vs. 40%), and repatriation services (43% vs. 29%).

Question 41-1
Possible outsourced relocation services in 2012
Chart Q41
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Question 41-2
Services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2012
Chart Q41-2
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Question 44g-1
List of possible outsourced international relocation services in 2012.
Chart Q44g
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Question 44g-2
International services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2012
Chart Q44g2
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