Relocation for Work: A Recruiter’s Perspective

As one might imagine, relocation is a complicated topic for employees. While some job-seekers are willing to move for the right role – or are even excited about the possibility of moving to a new area – many others are not entirely convinced. In today’s marketplace, a well-thought-out relocation assistance policy could make a big difference in winning the talent you need.

The Employee View of Relocation

It’s just a fact: employees aren’t relocating for work nearly as much as they used to. According to one survey, just 1.6% of job seekers relocated for new positions in the first quarter of 2023. This number is significantly lower than the 3.7% recorded in the last quarter of 2022, and numbers declined during that year as well, from 4.6% during the first quarter. In the years before the pandemic, relocation numbers were even higher: 7.7% of job seekers relocated in the fourth quarter of 2018, and in previous decades, up to a third of job seekers were willing to relocate. The same research shows that the current 1.6% is the lowest percentage of job-seekers willing to relocate since they began surveying.

Employees have grown more cautious of relocation for a variety of reasons. Some workers have placed more value on personal preferences and family life over job opportunities. Each individual is different, but some of the most common reasons shared in current recruiting conversations indicating a reluctance to move are:

  • Higher costs of living in the destination city/region
  • Expensive and time-consuming housing and rental markets
  • Preference to retain elements of current location (climate, urban/rural, schools, etc.)
  • Unwillingness to uproot families (children, spouses, aging parents, etc.)

Remote Work and Relocation

As many individuals lean into the possibility of remote and hybrid work, a tenuous correlation has developed between remote work opportunities and relocation opportunities. According to recent research, a slight increase in the number of jobs offering relocation assistance has coincided with a slight decrease in remote job postings. As of March 2023, fully remote jobs account for 6.36% of job postings, down from a peak of 8.87% in October 2022. Meanwhile, jobs offering relocation assistance comprise just under 2% of openings, which represents a 64% increase from a pre-pandemic “baseline.”

The uptick in relocation benefits suggests a clearer understanding of what employees need and want. There are, of course, many jobs that cannot be done remotely, and there are many others that employers prefer to have done in-office, either part-time or full-time.

Offering relocation benefits means companies understand and empathize with the extra challenges of moving to a new location for a new role. They’re more willing to help offset those challenges financially to attract top talent. This is even more important for positions requiring relocation and specialized skills.

Recruiting Strategies

There’s a wide range of recruiting strategies you can implement to see better performance. Organizations with the resources to do so may want to consider offering relocation assistance for jobs performed on-site in specific locations. The baseline would be financial assistance to help offset moving costs, plane tickets, and buying or renting a new home.

While financial assistance is critical, companies can stand out by having more thoughtful, people-centric relocation assistance that considers the whole person and their life. As noted above, “personal” reasons are some of the most significant when deciding whether or not to accept a job that requires a move – things like moving children and partners or leaving behind a support system. A relocation-required job offer is more likely to appeal to these candidates if it acknowledges and addresses these other factors. Can the company assist in finding a new job for a trailing spouse, helping find a good school for kids, or recommending networks to help people new to the area find their footing and make social connections?

As with so many aspects of recruiting, the key to success is to put the whole person at the center of the search. We can’t stress this enough, having a professional HR recruitment partner like Kaizen is a huge asset. It can help you in crafting a compelling offer that addresses the specific concerns and needs of candidates effectively. Plus, we’ll ensure that the candidates presented to you are enthusiastic and fully on board with relocation conditions, so you won’t have to waste time and energy on candidates who will back out at the last minute. Location-specific roles can be challenging, but you’ll achieve a successful outcome with the right recruiting partner.


By Rose Dorta

Are you a high-performing leader or believe you have the potential to tackle a more challenging role? Would you be interested in career opportunities that are seeking these attributes?

I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions that you have. Email me, Rose Dorta, Managing Director of Kaizen HR Solutions, here.


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