The seismic shift in spouse/partner employment that last year affected relocations almost always or frequently remains in place. Nearly two-thirds of firms saw this as an issue over the past two years, far more than at any time during the previous twelve years (62% and 63% vs. roughly half or less). While small firms have historically seen this around half the time, it ticks up again to 60% from 58% last year, which was slightly above average. The effect remains much more amplified among larger firms. An increase of more than 20 percentage points since 2013 remains in effect for mid-size firms (68% vs. 43%) after hitting 54% in 2014 and 65% in 2015. The impact among large firms is nearly double that of 2014 (61% vs. 32%) for the second year in a row.
With the importance of spouse/partner employment at far higher levels over the past two years compared to historical averages, far more firms continue to respond with offers of spouse/partner employment assistance. Firms of all sizes have offered this over the past two years far more than previously. However, for the first time this year, we see similar levels across company size, rather than as a likely perk among mid-size and large firms.
Two-thirds of companies offer to help find jobs for spouses or partners relocating internationally, down from 77% in 2015, but remaining notably higher than in any previous year. From 2008 to 2014, levels of spousal assistance for international and domestic moves were nearly identical. They shifted last year as spouses/partners were more likely to be offered this assistance internationally (77% vs. 65% for domestic). The difference remains in 2016, to a slightly lesser degree (67% vs. 61%). Also, for the second year in a row, availability is similar across company size; historically, it has been more often associated with mid-size and large firms.
For the second year in a row, far greater accommodations are being made overall for childcare (62% vs. 31%-43%, historically) and elder care (49% vs. 16%-26%, historically), even if provisions are merely lists of possible centers and service providers for support. The impact of family issues/ties as a main factor in declined relocations may be impacted by the fact many employees in the mid-level and higher positions could be finding themselves caring for both older family members and children at the same time due to trends of later marriage/childbearing ages of higher educated/affluent members of the general population. These people tend to be in the highly educated pool employers tap for relocation. This can create a “sandwich” effect on employees in the prime years of their careers, squeezed by responsibilities for both job and family. While larger firms have typically offered family assistance more frequently than small firms, this year, akin to the trend for spouse/partner employment assistance, it is similar among firms of all sizes. The percentages offering assistance remain substantially above historical levels among firms of all sizes for the second year in a row.