Nearly three-fourths of companies outsourced relocation services in 2014, surpassing the peak of 2011 and marking the highest percentage in more than a decade. Compared historically, outsourcing falls below highs for large firms, comes close to highs for mid-size firms, and exceeds highs for small firms (54%). However, the vast majorities of large and mid-size firms practice outsourcing to a much greater extent and typically require a greater variety of services than do small firms.
Outsourcing for different service categories remained at levels similar to 2013 with five exceptions. Far fewer firms outsourced real estate sales/marketing (31%), real estate purchase (28%), household good carrier contracts (27%), expense tracking/reimbursement (23%), and tax gross-up assistance (19%). Levels for these exceptions all fell at or near historical lows. Most other service category outsourcing levels appeared within their historical mid-ranges. With the housing crisis abating and the restructuring of assistance by employee type, some services may have simply been less necessary in 2014.
Similar to the previous year, far more firms last year outsourced internationally than did overall (85% vs. 73%). International outsourcing is at historical highs. It is used heavily across firms of all sizes; mid-size and large firms continue to outsource a greater variety of services than small firms.
Among companies that outsourced relocation services domestically, the percentage that also outsourced internationally surpassed last year’s historical high (98% vs. 89%). Firms that outsource domestic services now almost universally outsource international services if they relocate employees abroad. Large firms were the most active international outsourcers: 45% or more of them outsourced nearly half of all listed categories.