US-based Atlas® Van Lines has recently launched its 56th annual Corporate Relocation Survey, revealing that relocation volume and budgets are expected to increase in 2023 for around half of all companies, despite global economic factors and low workforce participation, which remain significant challenges for employers. Atlas’ Corporate Relocation Survey is the industry’s first and longest-running deep dive into corporate relocation policies and practices.
The survey included small, medium and large sized companies. Its key findings included: 68% of companies reported an increase in the overall number of employees relocated in 2022, a 7-point increase from 2021; 64% of companies reported an increase in 2022 relocation budget allocation, a 6-point increase from 2021; and 51% of companies reported an increase in international relocations, the lowest increase at only 2 points from 2021.
Economic and workforce impact
Economic conditions had a large impact on company relocations in 2022, with one-third of companies (34%) citing it as the most significant external factor. This is a decrease from 41% in 2021, which is a reflection of overall better financial performance for companies in 2022 as the acute impacts of the pandemic have eased. However, companies are reserved about the state of the global economy in 2023 as longer-lasting trends persist, including inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession.
The Great Resignation, an ongoing economic trend that started in 2021 in which employees voluntarily resigned from their jobs, remains a challenge for employers who must attract and retain talent amid low-rate labour force participation, high quit rates, and employees’ shifting priorities for the workplace. In fact, 27% of companies struggled to find qualified employees locally or felt the Great Resignation was a significant external impact in 2022, down slightly from 31% in 2021. Remote work is also a factor, increasingly impacting global corporate relocation compared with last year.
Similarly, companies are dealing with a sharp increase in supply chain and logistics constraints, which doubled from 2021 to 2022, increasing from impacting only 12% of companies to 25% of companies. The impact of the real estate market also continued at a consistent rate, impacting around 25% of companies in 2022. 26% of companies cited changes to political and regulatory environments as an additional external impact on relocation.
Evolving employee preferences
For companies that saw a decline in relocations, employee health and safety concerns were the main drivers. Today, employees are considering many factors, including global or local conflict, real estate, family and even climate threats, in their decision to relocate.
As a result, relocation volumes and budgets are increasing for most companies, driven in part by workplace policies mandating a return to in-office attendance. Because fully remote work is on the decline, and employees overwhelmingly prefer remote or hybrid office models, voluntary relocation is a growing trend for employees who are increasingly prioritising balance between personal fulfilment and employment.
For this year’s complete survey results, visit the Atlas Van Lines Corporate Relocation Survey results online.
A complete report booklet of critical findings, charts, and the comprehensive survey is also available for download here.
Atlas Van Lines, Inc is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, Inc, based in Evansville, Indiana. The Atlas World Group companies employ nearly 800 people throughout North America and has nearly 350 agents in the United States and Canada.