More Candidates Opting to Relocate for New Positions

From: Recruiting Trends Online

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the brighter employment and housing markets have made relocating a more feasible option for job candidates. Their numbers reveal that the percentage of job seekers relocating for new positions in the last half of 2014 rose to its highest level in five years.


The latest relocation rate 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.

“Relocation activity plunged after the first half of 2009 as home values continued to decline, which made it virtually impossible to sell an existing home without taking a significant loss. The housing market is still recovering in most regions, but the progress made last year clearly is encouraging more job seekers to expand their searchers geographically,” said John A. Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Moving is proving to be on the rise for senior employees
An average of 15 percent of job-seeking managers and executives moved for new positions over the last two quarters of 2014, according to the new report. 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 Challenger relocation rate is based on a quarterly survey of approximately 1,000 job seekers.

Relocation is hardly ever desirable from a job candidate’s point of view. But especially in hard times in housing, it most often is ruled out. Job seekers need to maintain their safety nets.

“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. 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 John A. Challenger, Chief Executive Officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Metropolitan Areas See Gains
A recent report from the National Association of Realtors indicates that a majority of metropolitan areas experienced steady year-over-year gains in home prices in the fourth quarter of 2014. The Association attributed slightly stronger price growth to a decline in housing supply and an uptick in demand fueled by lower interest rates and a stronger job market.

The number of cities with low unemployment continues to grow. In December, there were 158 metropolitan areas with unemployment rates below 5.0 percent. Only 78 metro areas could say the same, a year earlier.

“At the end of last year, there were more than 70 metropolitan areas with an unemployment rate of 4.0 percent or lower. That number is growing every month. Employers in these areas are undoubtedly struggling to find workers from the local talent pool. So, for job seekers who are willing to relocate, the list of cities with good opportunities keeps getting longer,” said Challenger.

Which Cities Top of the List for Highest Quality of Living?
One stat especially important to job candidates is the quality of life in the new city to which they may be drawn. Vancouver is the highest-ranking city in North America and the region’s only city in the top 10. Singapore (26) is the highest-ranking Asian city, whereas Dubai (74) ranks first across the Middle East and Africa. Montevideo in Uruguay (78) takes the top spot for South America, according to the Mercer 2015 Quality of Living rankings.

San Francisco (27), Boston (34), and Honolulu (36) are the highest-ranking US cities.

Vienna has the world’s best quality of living. Overall, European cities dominate the top of the ranking along with major cities in Australia and New Zealand. Zurich, Auckland, and Munich are in first, second, and third places respectively.

Mercer conducts its Quality of Living survey annually to help multinational companies and other employers compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments.

“Taking a short- or long-term work assignment in a new country is both an exciting and challenging experience for employees and their families,” said Slagin Parakatil, Principal at Mercer. “Cultures, societies, and comparatively different climates, as well as political instability, high crime rates, and poor infrastructure can be difficult to navigate and settle down in for employees and their families. Employers need to assess whether their staff and families will encounter any drop in quality of living when relocating and ensure they are fairly compensated for it.”

According to Mercer, it evaluates local living conditions in more than 440 cities it surveys worldwide. Living conditions are analyzed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

  1. Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc.)
  2. Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services)
  3. Socio-cultural environment (media availability and censorship, limitations on personal freedom)
  4. Medical and health considerations (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
  5. Schools and education (standards and availability of international schools)
  6. Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transportation, traffic congestion, etc.)
  7. Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
  8. Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
  9. Housing (rental housing, household appliances, furniture,
  10. Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)