Time to relocate? factors to consider when planning your move

Imagine your employer has just offered you a dream promotion that involves relocating. The company is offering you financial assistance to help with your move though you have no idea what the culture and day to day life will be in your new work environment. What would you do?

While today’s employers are embracing a more flexible work culture, every year thousands of Britons move varying distances for great work opportunities. Where we choose to live plays a major role in the opportunities that are available to us, so the decision to make the move or not is a big one.


Who relocates and why?

Not everyone chooses to make a big move. Approximately 40% of Britons still live within 5 miles of their childhood home, so who are the people doing all this moving?

According to UKCES (UK Commission for Employment and Skills), the higher up the pay scale you are, the lower the relative cost of both commuting and relocating for work becomes. This means that lower paid workers tend to have ‘less geographically extensive job searches and shorter travel-to-work distances than more highly paid workers.’

Also, many highly skilled professionals view relocation as a key part of career development. A report by Green and Canny found many highly skilled workers see themselves as having ‘occupations rather than jobs’. People with this attitude are likely to be more willing to change roles, departments, and locations in order to progress in that occupation.

Demand for skills

If higher-income workers are more willing to move areas to find a new job, they’re also more likely to be offered a relocation package within their current company according to UKCES. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Employment Trends Survey of July 2012 reported that businesses planned to recruit mainly for growth-generating roles, specifically highly skilled professionals, sales and technical experts, for the next year.

In fact, the skills picture hasn’t changed since 2003, when Green and Canny reported that employers’ key focus was on having ‘the right people in the right place at the right time’. Employers were willing to pay relocation costs – usually £15,000-£20,000 at the time of writing – in order to do so, rather than hire a new employee. Available talent is clearly valuable.

Relocation – the employee’s perspective

Studies from recent years have shown a revealing picture of those who accepted relocation packages to move with their companies: 

Julia Levin, has relocated several times for her job as a junior lawyer with an international firm. She told us many of her friends and colleagues, in short-term and long-terms placements, have also moved as a result of their jobs.

‘At times I’d work wherever the client was based while I was needed on a brief. My first move lasted two months. It was to Loughborough, so I could take the train home on weekends if there wasn’t too much work (there usually was). After that, I was relocated to other countries for up to 6 months a time. I always lived in hotels. The novelty of room service wears off, but it’s all part of the learning curve! Clients like to meet you personally.’

Is work-related relocation just about moving to a big city?

People have always flocked to big cities like London to find jobs. But recent figures suggest that unprecedented numbers of people are choosing to leave the cities in favour of more rural areas, perhaps drawn by a quieter pace of life, lower house prices, and some of the regeneration initiatives discussed above.


Is relocating the right move for you?

Many of us will never have to make a geographical move within our careers, but for some relocation could mean more promising career prospects. If you are called upon to make a move then there is plenty of food for thought. There are challenges in moving to a new area, but relocation can be a great option for those looking to build their networks, earn more, and achieve a better quality of life.