Challenger: Fewer Job-Hunting Execs Refusing Relos

March 22, 2004 ( - A scant 12.7% of job seekers for top corporate positions were willing to relocate to a new city, according to a new survey.

The relocation rate in the latest Challenger Job Market Index by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., was down from the 15.2% in the most recent poll during the fourth quarter of 2003. In fact, the most recent relocation finding trailed the annual average, which dropped to 13.9% in 2003 – the lowest since tracking began in 1986.

By comparison, as recently as 2000, nearly one in four (23%) of jobless managers and executives were reemployed in new cities or states. During the jobs expansion following the 1990-1991 recession, the relocation rate reached 49% in the second quarter of 1993, Challenger researchers said.

Yet, even as so many areas around the country enjoy nearly full employment, many job seekers appear reluctant to pull up stakes despite the fact that it probably means prolonging their job search, Challenger said. “Job seekers in particular are simply less willing to leave their comfort zones, preferring to remain close to their family and friends,” Challenger asserted. “The problem with this aversion to change and risk among the jobless is that it can significantly prolong the job search. “

Researchers at Challenger found 80 metropolitan areas with unemployment rates below 4.5% in January. More than one-third (35%) of those had unemployment rates of 3.5% or below. The five metropolitan areas with the lowest unemployment had rates ranging from 2.8% down to 2.2%.

According to Challenger, the Internet has made out-of-town job searching easier than ever. “Job seekers still need to plan visits to their target towns in order to meet with employers face to face, but a lot of the groundwork, including researching companies, can be accomplished using the Internet.” said Challenger.

The survey was conducted among 3,000 managers and executives.