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Relocation Volumes & Budgets

Positive Outlook Overall, Softening of International Market

In general, 2017 was another positive year for the relocation industry; roughly half of firms saw increases in volume overall and roughly nine out of ten indicate both volumes and budgets either held steady or increased. However, only around a third of small companies saw volumes and budgets increase compared to essentially half of larger firms. This is a notable retraction from 2016 when roughly half of small firms saw increases to both categories, indicating a pullback is occurring among smaller firms, even if the tilt is towards stability rather than decreased activity as a whole.

Projections for 2018 are similarly optimistic. Essentially four out of ten organizations expect increases in volumes and budgets for 2018, and nearly half expect stability compared to 2017. However, expectations for budget increases trend slightly higher than expectations for volume increases (44% vs. 39%), and volume expectations, muted slightly compared to last year (39% vs. 47%), are overwhelmingly positive, historically speaking. Interestingly, expectations for increased budgets in 2018 among mid-size and large firms outpace expectations for volume increases, and larger firms are more likely than small firms to expect increases in volumes and budgets. Small firms also see expectations drop compared to last year (41% to 28% for increased volumes, 45% to 30% for increased budgets). However, projections for 2018 are essentially in line with last year’s experiences across company size, with firms of all sizes expecting growth or stability for budgets in 2018 and very few expecting decreases. With changes needed to adapt to tax reform and increasing costs across the industry, it appears the firms juggling greater numbers of relocations are projecting budgetary adjustments for the coming year.

Among firms relocating employees internationally, 41% overall saw increases in international volumes last year and 38% expect increases in 2018. Around one-fifth of firms saw decreased volumes last year and expect decreased international activity in 2018. While projected increases outpace decreases roughly two-to-one, the mixed picture reflects a bit of instability. Given the geopolitical landscape, this is perhaps not unexpected. Overall, while the expectation for increased international relocation has dropped markedly compared to last year (38% vs. 49%), the expectation for increased international relocation trends far higher than during the decade before 2015.

  • For the seventh straight year, the median numbers for relocations at large firms (200-399) remained at historical, non-recessionary norms after dipping lower (100-199) in 2010. The median for small firms remained at normative levels (1-9) for a third year after trending higher (10-19) in 2014. The median for mid-size firms spends a second year in its normative, non-recessionary range (20-49) after running higher (50-99) during 2014-2015.
Question 1
Number of employees relocated in 2017
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Question 2
Companies that relocate employees between countries
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Question 3
Is your company...
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Question 4
Compared to 2016, did the number of employees you relocated...
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Question 5
Compared to 2016, did your 2017 relocation budget…
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Question 6
The number of employees your company will relocate during 2018 will...
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Question 7
Do you anticipate that your relocation budget in 2018 will...
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Question 46a
Did the number of employees your company relocated internationally during 2017...
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Question 46b
Do you anticipate that the number of employees your company will relocate internationally during 2018 will...
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