The top three factors affecting relocation last year overall were a lack of local talent (42%), company growth (39%), and expansion efforts (37%). Company growth remains similar to previous recessionary levels, despite maintaining a substantial increase over 2009 (39% vs. 24%). Lack of local talent remains the top external factor. However, when all types of expansion are considered (facility, new territories, or international), some form of expansion affected relocation volumes for 37% of firms, nearly equal to company growth. Economic conditions affected 32% of firms last year. This remains far lower than recessionary percentages but higher than many non-recessionary years. Overall, the impact of the real estate market on relocation volumes continues to lessen; it is now at the survey’s lowest historical level (15%).
Most firms have reported improved financial performances over the past six years. Combined with diminished real estate issues and budget constraints, as well as increases in relocation volumes and budgets, the picture of a full-fledged recovery appears strong. However, given the continued citing of economic conditions as a factor in relocations, the muted impact of company growth compared to historical ranges for recovery, and the depth of retraction in the Great Recession, some residual weakness may remain. The widespread, continued use of creative solutions for “doing more with less” likely reflects a permanent shift in how mobility policy is used.