Relocation on the Rise

March 31, 2015 2:53 PM | Theresa Boyce (Administrator)

By Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The percentage of job seekers relocating for new positions in the last half of 2014 rose to its highest level in five years, which should be good news to the growing number of employers that may find their local talent pool getting shallower as unemployment rates continue to fall around the country.

An average of 15 percent of job-seeking managers and executives moved for new positions over the last two quarters of 2014. That was up from an average of 11.4 percent in the first two quarters of the year. In 2013, the relocation rate among job seekers averaged 13 percent.

The latest relocation rate, which is based on Challenger’s quarterly survey of approximately 1,000 job seekers, is the highest it has been since the first half of 2009, when an average of 16.3 percent of job seekers moved in the immediate wake of the recession.

“Ongoing improvements in the employment and housing markets are undoubtedly making relocation a more palatable option for managers and executives in transition,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer.

Relocation activity plunged after the first half of 2009 as home values continued to decline, which made it very difficult to sell an existing home without taking a significant loss.

“Relocation is rarely the most desirable option for job seekers. There is a lot of cost and risk involved. The collapse in the housing market, which was a primary factor behind the recession, made relocation even more unattractive, as many job seekers were stuck in homes with market values well below what was owed on the mortgage. 

At the same time, employers were unwilling to help pay for any relocation costs, much less cover the likely loss in home value, due to their own recession-related cost-cutting initiatives. Starting in 2013, we saw a rebound in home buying and home prices. That trend continued in 2014, leading to the upturn in relocation among job seekers,” said Challenger.

Read full report here.