How To Negotiate Relocation Expenses

Do most employers still pay for relocation?

There used to be a time when the question seemed ludicrous. Whether the move was local or international, it was not a concern, because it seemed the response was fairly automatic: relocation expenses were shouldered by companies, especially if your profession demanded it.

The question is posed more often these days as a growing number of globally mobile people are moving around. Companies are clearly taking advantage of a flatter world, where companies are sharing and expanding knowledge, systems and processes on a nationwide and global scale.

From the perspective of those seeking work elsewhere, the question may be based on how algorithms can determine if a better candidate lives nearby, thereby reducing the chances of somebody from out of town–or out of the country. Well, it’s been proven on many occasions that just looking out of your backyard is not going to work.

Your best candidate may not even be in the United States. Steven Jacobs of Ernst & Young-HR once asked and answered his own question, “Do we have the right employee in the right place at the right cost? It sounds basic, but we find that it is often not the reality.’”

Companies are addressing this problem. In a 2013 study by Ernst & Young, about 58 percent of companies have a global talent management agenda, an increase from 51 percent in 2012. In a more recent study this year by pwc, it reported how assignee levels have increased by 25 percent over the past decade with a projected further 50 percent growth in mobile employees by 2020.

Global mobility is growing and many companies recognize this and know the only way to attract talent is to offer attractive relocation packages. If you’re getting lots of job offers that would require you to relocate, it pays to know a few things about the hiring process. This way, you’ll know how to position yourself:

The important thing is not to sell your candidate short. Here are some tips and observations:

  1. Negotiate anything if the job offer is a done deal. Assuming you’ve agreed on a salary for your potential hire, then see if you can negotiate extra vacation time, moving expenses, housing, cultural training, language support and a host of other things. Companies may decline but it will not hurt to if they’re relying on you already.
  2. It doesn’t hurt to ask for relocation pay. Some industries don’t mind paying for moving expenses, but as a specialist, it’s good to know the costs of the nitty-gritties like rental for  truck or driver or a moving company. Just make sure your potential hire is also forthcoming about all of their required moving expenses.
  3. How much do they want your talent? If they’re not shouldering their relocation expenses, it should concern you if it’s for an executive-level job. If your talent doesn’t mind, see if you can deduct moving expenses from your potential hire’s taxes and even better, ask the potential employer if they can reimburse some costs.
  4. Your talent may not get relocation pay. If it’s an entry-level position, there’s a high probability he won’t get paid or reimbursed. In most cases, relocation packages are offered to experienced professionals, mid- to executive-level positions.
  5. Not all relocation pays are equal. For many domestic transfers, they may just give your talent some small travel expenses and let you take care of the rest, especially if it’s not an executive-level job. That means no pampering: You can help your talent look for their own hotel, pay for their own meals and search for their own apartment.  (DC)