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Outsourcing

Roughly three in four companies outsourced relocation services last year. This number matches the historical high of 2016 (77%) and surpasses other highs in 2014-2015 & 2018 (73%-76%) and similar to the past five years and 2011 peak (72%). Outsourcing continues for the overwhelming majority of large firms (near highest levels historically) and in the high range for mid-size firms. Usage among small firms remains near historical highs in 2015-2016 (60% vs. 63%-65%) and similar to 2018 (59%) after falling to roughly half (49%) in 2017. It remains far above the previous 12-year average of roughly one third. Large firms continue to outsource to a greater extent and more services than mid-size or small firms.

Even with more firms continuing to outsource overall in 2019, the use of most individual service categories is similar to 2017-2018 and remains slightly lower compared to 2016. However, worth noting is that the outsourcing of counseling about planning and details of relocation has increased over the past two years (36% vs. 25%+) and is now just over 2016 levels (34%). While real estate purchase (31% vs. 36%) and real estate sales/marketing (33% vs. 39%) stay below 2016, these are also seeing slight increases over the past two years. Overall, most service categories remain down from historical highs to between historical lows and mid-ranges. The management of service provider GDPR/data privacy compliance is newer: one in every eight firms outsources this function; for large firms, the ratio is one in six. Companies remain extremely strategic, using external expertise only where it is most cost effective, as evidenced by high overall outsourcing but not across service categories.

 
Question 39
Services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2019
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Question 39-2
Services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2019
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INTERNATIONAL

Similar to the previous six years, far more firms relocating employees internationally outsourced in 2019 than did overall (90% vs. 77%). International outsourcing reaches historic highs overall and across company size, but with great variation across service categories. However, large firms continue to outsource a greater variety of services than mid-size and small firms do.

In 2019, international outsourcing across service categories remains essentially the same, or increased across most service categories compared to 2018, which saw levels rebound slightly after most categories decreased in 2017. However, most outsourcing levels remain below 2016 levels and in the mid to lower ranges historically for most categories. One exception: counseling about company policy concerning international relocation rebounds and surpasses 2016 (36% vs. 34%) after falling to 24%+ the past two years. Outsourcing categories far below 2016 levels are: contract of household goods carrier (31% vs. 44%), destination services/orientation tours (32% vs. 43%), arrangement of family’s temporary accommodations (29% vs. 42%), and intercultural & language training (24% vs. 34%). The management of service provider GDPR/data privacy compliance is new: roughly one in every ten small international firms outsources this service; among mid-size and large firms, the number is one in five.

Among companies that outsourced relocation services domestically in 2019, those that also outsourced internationally (97%) remains similar to 2014’s historical high (98%). For the sixth straight year, firms that outsource domestic services and relocate internationally almost universally outsource services abroad. Large firms continue to be the most active for outsourcing internationally: around one-third or more did so across almost all survey categories.

 
Question 42-j
International services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2019
Chart Q42-j
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Question 42-j2
International services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2019
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