Employers Optimistic, but Employees Reluctant to Relocate

April 19, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Relocation managers across the U.S. are expressing optimism that the worst of the recession is over, according to Atlas Van Lines’ annual relocation survey.

Seventy-two percent of the relocation managers polled say they believe their respective companies will fare better in 2011, and 30% of companies plan to relocate workers this year – the highest percentage in six years, a press release said. Eighty-seven percent of companies will spend as much or more on relocation in 2011 as in 2010, the most since 2007.  

However, while employers may be more optimistic about the economy, many of their workers remain cautious and somewhat apprehensive. Fifty-nine percent of firms say they had employees decline relocations in 2010 – the third highest level in several years. Among large companies, the rate jumps to 87%. Three of every four companies surveyed say the number of employees declining relocation in 2010 stayed about the same as 2009.  

Reasons cited for declining relocations included: 

  • Housing/mortgage concerns: 69%, 
  • Family issues/ties: 55%, and 
  • Spouse’s/Partner’s Employment: 41%. 


Twenty-seven percent of companies surveyed say that declining a relocation request usually hinders an employee’s career. 

According to the press release, other survey findings included: 

  • The Midwest is now the top destination of transfers (37%) followed by the Northeast (31%), the South (28%) and West (20%). Thirty-two percent of companies say they increased the number of international relocations in 2010, with 28% predicting another increase in 2011. 
  • Eighty-four percent of firms have a formal relocation policy.  
  • More than half of relocations were new hires (53%). 
  • Employees ages 36-40 remain the most frequently relocated salaried employee in 2010 (37%); most are male – only 19% of relocations involved female employees.  
  • Forty-five percent of relocations involved employees with children; 61% of those relocated were homeowners.  
  • Thirty-two percent of responding firms give employees one week or less to accept a relocation offer (up 7% from 2010 survey). 
  • More than three-fourths of companies reimburse/pay to pack all items; 28% to move pets; 14% will even reimburse for moving boats.  
  • Among international relocations, the most frequent destination was Europe (41%). 


More than 400 corporate relocation professionals completed the survey between January 6 and February 28.  

For complete survey results, visit http://www.atlasworldgroup.com/relocation-surveys/.