Corporate Relocation Volume and Budgets on the Rise as Policy and Reimbursement Methods Shift
April 26, 2017
Katie Gross, Atlas Van Lines
800-638-9797 ext. 2636 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ashley Eggert, Dittoe Public Relations
317.202.2280, ext. 15 or email@example.com
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (April 26, 2017) —According to one of the nation’s leading movers, Atlas® Van Lines, 47 percent of companies experienced an increase in corporate relocation volume in 2016. In response to Atlas’ 50th Annual Corporate Relocation Survey, around half of firms expect volumes to increase overall and internationally in 2017, and roughly four out of 10 expect stability compared to last year.
As volumes increased in the years after the Great Recession, budgets did not initially keep pace. However, for each of the past three years, nearly half of companies report their relocation budgets increased from the previous year, and 47 percent believe their budgets will again increase in 2017.
Below are additional trends spotted in this year’s Corporate Relocation Survey:
Multiple Generations are on the Move
Employees under 40 continue to comprise the majority of corporate relocations, but older workers now comprise roughly a third since 2003, essentially three times higher than 1997 averages. Staying with a single company for the duration of their career is no longer a reality for many individuals, thus impacting the age range of typically relocated employees. Company growth, mergers and acquisitions, industry consolidation, free trade agreements in geopolitical zones, recessions, and globalization have also played a part in the changing career trajectories of older workers.
Additionally, 56 percent of firms indicate the most frequently relocated are Gen Xers overall (ages 36-50), with the 36-40 age range being most prevalent (28 percent), followed by millennials (age 35 and under) at 40 percent. Boomers (age 51 and up) comprised only four percent of the most frequent transitioning employee. In combination with the estimates from firms that mid-level positions were relocated most frequently (52 percent) followed by executive/top positions (28 percent) then entry level (20 percent), the data indicates that a generational shift of power from boomers to Generation X and millennials is well underway.
Shifts in Assignments, Policies & Reimbursement Methods
Over the last three years, the majority of firms have come to rely on arrangements other than traditional relocations. Roughly two-thirds of firms indicate they use alternative assignments (67 percent) similar to the past two years (64-65 percent) and far more often than the previous three years. Alternative assignments can include extended business travel, cross-border commuting, rotational, permanent international transfers and more.
The incorporation of fixed/flex elements into policy is now nearly universal. From 2015 to 2017, nearly nine out of 10 firms used aspects of fixed/flex policy to give employees options in how they use their relocation policy benefit. This represents a marked increase from around two-thirds of firms doing so in 2013 and 2014.
Since 2014, roughly eight of 10 firms state they use cost containment methods to keep their relocation costs down, while at the same time, 86 percent are also using incentives to entice employees to relocate. Incentivizing the right talent to relocate, while maintaining a budget, is a strenuous balancing act.
Companies estimate that roughly half of their relocations were either partially reimbursed or paid by lump sum only. Before the turn of the 21st century, full reimbursement was by far the method used most frequently to cover costs for both transferees and new hires. As in recent years, firms continue to differentiate for full reimbursement (65 percent for transferees vs. 42 percent for new hires).
International Relocation Increases
International relocation showcased one of the biggest shifts, with 51 percent of international firms reporting increases last year and 49 percent expecting to send more employees on international assignments in 2017. Relocations originating in the U.S. went to many regions last year, including Canada (37 percent), the United Kingdom (36 percent), Asia (31 percent), Western Europe (29 percent) and Eastern Europe (19 percent). As companies are increasingly global in scope and size, the need for employees to be able to transition seamlessly across borders and interact with clients and staff from all over the world is greater than ever.
Partner Employment Affects Relocation
A seismic shift has occurred in spouse/partner employment impacting relocations. Nearly two-thirds of firms state spouse/partner employment has a marked impact on employee relocations over the past three years, which represent the highest levels historically. Families are often reluctant to gamble financial security on single salaries, placing a higher priority on keeping a dual-income household. Therefore, far more firms have responded with offers of spouse/partner employment assistance. Only around one out of 10 firms offered this in 1977, and the offering has exploded to nearly two-thirds of firms offering some type of assistance in 2017. Today, 46 percent of firms provide networking assistance to spouses/partners, 36 percent pay for outplacement/career services, 31 percent offer assistance with résumé preparation, and 23 percent reimburse for expenses related to career transition.
This year, 471 corporate relocation professionals completed Atlas® Van Lines’ online survey between January 13 and February 23. Each respondent has responsibility for relocation and is employed by a company that has either relocated employees during the past two years or plans to relocate employees this year.
Nearly all respondents (88 percent) work in human resources/personnel or relocation/mobility services departments and 48 percent work in international firms.
For this year’s complete survey results, visit the Atlas® Van Lines Corporate Relocation Survey results online at www.atlasvanlines.com/Corporate-Relocation/Survey.
About Atlas® Van Lines
Atlas® Van Lines, a national moving company, is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based company. Atlas World Group companies employ approximately 700 people throughout North America. Nearly 500 Atlas interstate moving agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate relocation, household moving services and in the specialized transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, store fixtures and furniture. For more information, visit http://www.atlasvanlines.com.