Companies Still Pay to Relocate: Atlas Survey

Businesses have limited what they will pay for and who is eligible, but few cut the budget entirely.


Realtors say property sales come down to “location, location, location.” The same might be true for the job search – it’s not just what you do and how well you do it, but where you’re willing to do it. And that means you might need to relocate to the job.

Relocation is an intimidating and expensive proposition that scares many enough to consider relocating to a new job function or industry to avoid relocating to a new geography. Many assume that tighter budgets at hiring companies mean that most of the burden will be placed on the employee who must really want that job.

But not so, said Bob Cartwright, senior PHR, president and CEO of Intelligence Compensation. Businesses have curtailed their spending on relocation, but few have eliminated it entirely. Instead, most have reduced what they will pay for and who is eligible.

Many companies are still more than willing to take a chance on applicants from out of town. They just have to make sure that they’re the right candidates, he said. “You’re always going to be looking for great talent,” Cartwright said. “A hiring manager would be OK if they have a solid background.”

Relocation budgets decreased in 2009 for a second straight year, according to the Atlas 2010 Corporate Relocation Survey, but nearly half of employers (48 percent) still offered a full relocation package to new hires in 2009 that included most major moving expenses. Another 46 percent paid at least partial expenses. Among those companies:

  • 76 percent paid packing and shipping expenses
  • 68 percent paid to move an automobile
  • 29 percent paid to move a pet(s)
  • 14 percent paid to move a boat

Cartwright said miscellaneous items like relocating pets and boats are the first things to be cut in relocation budgets. “The packages have probably shrunk a little bit,” he said. “Caps have been set up to weather the (economic) storm.”


When moving to a new city for a job, one of the biggest concerns you might have is where to live. The sale and replacement of a home can be the largest obstacle to a relocation, so most businesses offer at least some help for qualifying hires, according to the Atlas survey:

  • 69 percent offered temporary housing to transferees and new hires who are looking to buy new homes
  • 65 percent paid for home-finding trips
  • 51 percent paid for storage
  • 50 percent paid for costs to sell a home
  • 49 percent paid for costs to purchase a home
  • 28 percent paid for the loss-on-sale of an employee’s previous home

Fewer companies reported offering similar assistance to renters.

Where To?

Where are job seekers relocating? Most are headed to the Midwest, according to the Atlas survey. Relocations by region:

  • 36 percent to the Midwest
  • 28 percent to the South
  • 27 percent to the Northeast
  • 18 percent to the West
  • 11 percent to the Southwest
  • 9 percent to the central U.S.

Research, Research, Research

When considering such a big move it’s very important to take into account the local housing market and cost of living in your destination, said Lisa Panarello, a career coach and founder of

“People spend too much time worrying and not enough time investigating,” Panarello said. “Why worry about an issue if you don’t know if it’s real or not?”

She recommends investing a few dollars to visit the place where the job is and see if you like it. “People say real estate comes down to ‘location, location, location,’ but your job search may come down to location, location, location … or, as I say, ‘research, research, research,’” she said. “You have to do the work.” To get a feel for a new area, Panarello suggests reading local newspapers in that city, working with local recruiters there or even networking with local organizations and associations.

“Every job search takes time,” she said. “If they want to relocate, it takes even more time.”