Pandemic 'no deterrent' to global mobility

A sizeable majority of professionals are now more willing to relocate either abroad or within their home countries than they were before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, according to a new survey encompassing nine global markets.

Map of the world with business people
Despite worldwide travel restrictions and continuing health concerns because of the pandemic, 59% of respondents said they were now more inclined to relocate now than they were a year ago.The survey conducted by Wakefield Research for US-headquartered, global mobility specialists Graebel, found that 80% of workers would relocate during the pandemic, including 31% ready to move internationally.Wakefield carried out research among 'knowledge workers', such as programmers, architects, engineers, scientists, lawyers, and academics, in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the UK, US, Singapore and Switzerland.

Corporate relocations: interest continues to grow

The research indicated that interest in corporate relocations would continue to grow with 84% saying they would relocate for work when Covid-19 was no longer prevalent throughout the world, and nearly half (46%) saying they would be willing to do so internationally.“This survey tells us that relocating for work is still seen as a smart, beneficial career move for workers around the world,” said Casey Phelps, senior vice president of client services EMEA at Graebel.“It’s proof that the global mobility industry isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Workers are undeterred and ready to relocate to advance their careers, and companies must be prepared to support their mobile employees.”

Relocations: the importance of family ties

Findings in the survey showed the importance of family ties when it came to relocation decisions. Some 81% of married professionals or those in a relationship were willing to relocate, compared to 64% of single workers.And about nine in 10 workers with children said they would be willing to move for work during the pandemic, compared to 65% without children.While 46% of respondents said they would only be willing to relocate for six months or less without their family or partner, another 36 % were prepared to relocate for more than three years without their family or partner, largely because of concerns over over how family members would adjust to the life in a foreign environment.The survey found that while the prime motivation to relocate domestically amongst most workers (81%) was career advancement, those prepared to work abroad were also driven by such factors as a better lifestyle for their families, experiencing a different culture, and going to a safer location in terms of Covid-related risks.

What are the concerns about international relocations?

"On the flip side," said Graebel, "most workers (93%) do have some concerns about international relocations — primarily health and safety risks (39%), lack of friends or family for social support (39%) and language or cultural barriers (38%)."Nevertheless, Mr Phelps said the findings "reinforce the bright future ahead for the global mobility industry".He added, "Now is the time for employers to adjust talent mobility strategies and policies to match mobile employees’ needs, wants and concerns. Covid-19 altered just about everything in our world, but one thing remains the same — it’s that workers are still willing and eager to make the move to find new possibilities and experiences through relocation.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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