Falling Relocation Rates at Historic Low
Tight Job Market & Evolving Tech Reduce Relocation Rates
Relocation rates for work are at a historic low according to outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in the 2018 Relocation Report. Approximately 1,000 job seekers who successfully found new employment were surveyed each quarter by the Challenger team.
Compared to the late 1980s, when more than a third of candidates relocated, the 2010s averaged a little over one tenth of candidates willing to move for a new position.
Average Relocation Rate
Unsurprisingly, the relocation rate is closely tied to the economy. The relocation boom of the late 80s coincides with recovery efforts following the 1982 recession. Relocation continued at high rates in the 1990s, powered by the financial gains in the dot-com bubble. Rates dropped significantly when that bubble burst in 2000, falling again in the 2007-09 Great Recession.
Breaking the previous pattern, however, relocation rates only continued to drop in the post-recession recovery. There was a brief resurgence in 2009 when housing prices rebounded enough for candidates to sell again but the average rate in the 2010 is an historically low 10.57%.
Challenger proposes two likely causes for this shift: a tight job market and evolving technology. In today’s job-seeker’s market, qualified candidates have their choice of local jobs and don’t need to risk relocation to find a position. Moreover, technological advances allow employees to work remotely. Employers no longer have to bring people to them but can hire the best candidates no matter their location.
With the trend of telecommuting increasing, it seems likely that relocation rates will continue to fall.