Down Economy Bites into Relo Budgets

April 22, 2009 ( - A new survey found fewer employers are willing to shoulder the costs to relocate an employee and are cutting their relocation budgets accordingly.

However, when companies do decide to move an employee, they are more likely to offer incentives such as help finding a job for a spouse. An Atlas Van Lines news release about its survey said respondents expect the trend to continue at least through 2009.

“Relocation is a tough proposition for both employers and employees. Businesses are looking to save costs everywhere, and workers are worried about losing money on their homes and uprooting their families,” said Greg Hoover, president and COO of the moving company, in the announcement.”But companies still need good people, and those willing to relocate are being compensated for their trouble.”

According to Atlas, the survey found:

  • Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the number of employees they moved in 2008 increased, compared to 36% in 2007, and 39% in 2006. Twenty-five percent reported a decrease in the number of employee relocations in 2008, compared with 14% in 2007 and 12% in 2006.
  • More than half (52%) of respondents predict that they will decrease the number of employees they move in 2009, and 48% predict relocation budgets will be cut again as well.
  • Fewer employees are willing to accept a relocation. Some 65% of respondents had employees refuse relocation requests last year, up from 56% in 2007. For the first time, housing/mortgage concerns surpassed family issues as the prime reason for refusing relocation.
  • Overall, 20% of firms had male spouses involved in relocations in 2008, up from 11% in 2006. This trend coincides with a similar upward trend in spousal employment assistance, meaning more men are likely receiving assistance from their spouse’s employer than in years past.

Respondents who cited economic conditions and the real estate market as the most significant factors impacting their company’s relocation decisions jumped from 24% and 22%, respectively, in 2007 to 44% and 40% in 2008.

More than 300 corporate relocation professionals completed the online survey between January 12 and February 28. More information is at .