© 2018 Cornerstone Relocation Group
The results of the 51st annual Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey of 435 participants revealed the very latest trends in the employee mobility industry.  Here are some survey highlights to give you a quick look at who is moving, where they are going and the issues surrounding mobility.
Destination Between US & Another Country Within Country/Region
Canada 37% 44%
United Kingdom 36% 24%
Asia 31% 29%
United States 30% 56%
Europe (Western) 29% 11%
Europe (Eastern) 19% 22%
Middle East 15% 16%
South America 12% 20%
Australia/Pacific Rim 10% 4%
Central America/Caribbean 8% 5%
Africa (North) 6% 9%
Africa (Sub-Saharan) 5% 4%
Russia 4% 5%
Other 3% 2%

Migration by Country

What is Impacting Employee Relocations?
The top three factors (external or internal) affecting employee relocations remained unchanged compared to last year: lack of local talent (44%), expansion efforts (43%) and company growth (37%).  For large companies, the biggest factor by far was expansion efforts (62%), followed by corporate structure changes, such as reorganizations or merger/acquisitions (54%) and the lack of local talent (43%) and knowledge/skills transfers (42%).  The biggest factors for mid-size and small companies are growth/expansion and the subsequent need for talent.  Mid-size companies cited both the lack of local talent and company expansion (40% each), followed by company growth at 38%.  The struggle for talent is higher for small companies (49%), followed by company growth at 35%, and expansion efforts at 28%. Economic conditions, which ranked high in last year’s survey at 34%, fell to 21% in this year’s survey.  Perhaps, reflecting that same optimism, budget constraints as a factor impacting relocation fell from 18% last year to 13% this year.

Internal Conditions Impacting Relocations by Company Size Total Less than 500 500-4,999 5,000+
No impact from internal conditions 6% 10% 6% 3%
Company growth 37% 35% 38% 39%
Promotions/resignations 28% 24% 28% 32%
Knowledge/skill transfer 31% 26% 24% 42%
Expansion into new territories 43% 28% 40% 62%
Corporate reorganization/restructuring 36% 23% 31% 54%
Budget constraints 13% 10% 12% 18%
Increased production 11% 8% 10% 14%
Technology deployment/integration 9% 5% 10% 12%
Closing of facility 10% 6% 8% 16%
Use of frequent business travel/telecommuting 17% 12% 16% 25%
Use of short-term assignments 10% 7% 11% 11%
Other 3% 4% 1% 4%
External Conditions Impacting Relocations by Company Size Total Less than 500 500-4,999 5,000+
No impact from external conditions 17% 17% 13% 21%
Lack of qualified people 44% 49% 40% 43%
Economic conditions 21% 14% 26% 22%
Growth of domestic and international competition 30% 16% 36% 18%
Real estate market 11% 15% 11% 7%
Political/regulatory environment 13% 11% 12% 15%
U.S. tax reform legislation/tax compliance 9% 6% 11% 10%
Natural/man-made disasters - domestic or international 7% 4% 8% 8%
Other 5% 8% 5% 3%

Relocation Volumes and Budgets
Frequency of incentive or exception proving successful in convincing an employee to relocate.

How are Companies Containing Costs?

Even though budget constraints were not cited as often as a factor influencing relocation,
cost containment is a reality in the mobility industry.  When asked what cost containment
measures were used last year, the top answers were:

The Hottest Topic in the US: Tax Reform
Tax reform legislation (the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) was signed into law at the end of 2017, and went into effect on January 1, 2018.  The legislation eliminated the excludability of qualified moving expenses for non-military moves (at least until 2026). 
 
74% of respondents anticipated making changes to their relocation policies due to the new legislation.  When asked what changes they anticipated making, the results were as follows:

 

The new tax law lowered the Federal Supplemental rate from 25% (2017 rate) to 22%, which helps offset some of the increased gross up expenses, as should the new reduced corporate tax rate of 21%. However, 51% of respondents felt relocation costs would increase (somewhat or significantly) in 2018, while 29% felt costs would remain the same as last year.  When asked to predict the impact of the Act on relocation costs from 2019-2025, 55% felt relocation costs would increase (somewhat or significantly) during that time period, while 24% felt costs would remain the same.

Who's Moving? The Most Frequently
Relocated Salaried Employee Profile


 

Where Are They Going?

The Northeast and Midwest region of the United States had the
most employee moves in 2017, followed closely by the West
and South regions.

When company size is factored in, Western Europe is the clear winner for larger companies.  The US comes in 1st for mid-size companies, and small companies split with the US and Canada.

While relocation within the US was the most common type for all survey respondents, larger companies tended to have more intra-regional relocations and cited more relocations within Europe, than within the US, in 2017.

 

Relocation Volumes and Budgets - By Company Size (Salaried Employees)
Companies indicating they offered non-standard additional incentives or exceptions to encourage employee relocations in 2017.*

*(% of companies indicating "yes")

Relocation Volumes and Budgets
Additional non-standard incentives or exceptions offered by companies to encourage relocations in 2017.*

*(of those who offered incentives or exceptions)