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The State of Corporate Relocation in 2016


49th Annual Corporate Relocation Survey CoverSince 1968, Atlas Van Lines has annually surveyed corporate relocation professionals on their views, policies, and practices to better understand changes taking place in the industry. Our results for the 2016 Corporate Relocation survey are here, and they provide an in­-depth look at the most noteworthy trends in mobility.

Who responded?
Atlas sent invitations by email and 445 individuals responded. Of those, 89 percent of the respondents work in human resources or relocation/mobility services departments and 51 percent work in international firms.

What are the major trends for 2016?

More relocations than last year. 
There were more relocations in 2015 than 2014, and we should see more 
relocations in 2016 than last year. In fact, around four out of 10 firms expect volumes to increase further overall and internationally. Budgets continue to rebound. In both 2014 and 2015, nearly half of companies indicated their relocation budgets increased and 41 percent believe their budgets will increase again in 2016.

Young professionals are on the move.
When it comes to young professionals and mobility, 43 percent of firms indicate that the average age of employees relocating most frequently is under 36 years old. On average, 22 percent of relocations in 2015 were for entry-­level positions and around half were for mid-­level. Nearly half (47 percent) of relocations were for new hires.
Graph: Relocation Expenses ReimbursementLess full coverage and more lump sums.
For the second year in a row, full reimbursement of expenses for new hires (36 percent) is out of favor in comparison to lump sum payments (45 percent) and partial reimbursement (38 percent). Roughly half of the relocations were either only partially reimbursed by the company or were lump sum payment only.Graph: External Factors Impacting Relocation Volume 1988-2015
Relocation for growth, expansion and talent needs.
Lack of qualified local talent is still the top external issue cited by participating firms (42 percent) followed by economic conditions (32 percent). Company growth is the internal factor cited (39 percent) most often with combined company expansion efforts coming in a close second (37 percent).
Graph: Internal Factors Impacting Relocation Volume 1988-2015
More assignment diversity.
Roughly two-­thirds of firms responding to the survey indicate they are using alternative assignments of some type, nearly the same as in 2015 and far more than in the previous three years. Additionally, 65 percent of firms continue to indicate they have a formal short-­term/temporary assignment policy, 52 percent have an extended business travel policy and 40 percent have a policy for long-distance commuters.

How is this information used?
We expect the report to be widely cited by major print and online media outlets as primary research on major factors shaping the industry. The survey results will also be presented to our distinguished guests of the 49th Annual Atlas Forum, taking place in Chicago, April 21​-22.


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