Learning New Skill, Exploring Different Cultures are Behind Employees’ Desire to Relocate

Organizations around the globe have observed a surge of resignations over the past few years. While many businesses have made the necessary changes to tackle the reduced employee retention, there is much to learn about the behavior of the rapidly evolving labor market.

Many companies have recognized that they have to get to the bottom of why employees are resigning, what organizations can do in their power to retain their existing workforce, and what global mobility’s role is in the Great Resignation.

Luckily, Graebel expounds on its insights from its Annual State of Mobility 2022 Survey and Report

Graebel in partnership with Wakefield Research discusses its findings as part of its annual State of Mobility report to understand why employees are leaving and provide employers with important information to take on this rising talent issue.

Knowledge workers comprised the survey respondents

They surveyed 1,500 knowledge workers in the Gen Z, Millennial, and Baby Boomer generations across varying industries who filed their resignations in the last two years. The respondents come from 11 global markets including Canada, the United States of America, Brazil, China. France, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

One of the more profound findings of the survey is the role of global mobility teams in attracting and retaining talent amid a growing talent scarcity issue around the globe. In fact, a considerable portion of the labor market who resigned was found to have a newfound desire to relocate.

The firm’s 2021 State of Mobility survey painted a positive picture for global mobility as 4 in every 5 respondents reported their desire to relocate for jobs despite an ongoing pandemic. Moreover, 31% of 1,000 knowledge workers would be willing to relocate internationally. 

True enough, results from the more recent survey show workers who resigned in the last two years are even more eager about relocation opportunities. To add, 51% of the 1,500 knowledge workers who resigned in the last two years require relocation opportunities from a job offer, noting its importance for many job seekers today.

The study also found that relocation options are key to helping organizations increase employee retention levels. In addition, 2 in 3 knowledge workers in the study mentioned they were more likely to remain in the company they previously worked for if the employer retained their role but relocated to another country. Furthermore, workers in the Asia-Pacific region yield the most percentage of respondents who considered this option.

A higher 70% of knowledge workers considered staying in their previous company if they were offered the same role but relocated somewhere within their home country.

This means that some form of relocation – whether overseas or within the home country – might have driven employees to stay in their companies, possibly alleviating the negative impacts of the Great Resignation when it happened. 

As the study goes even deeper into the motivations behind employees’ desire to relocate, it explains the driving forces behind this inclination.

Learning a new skill and culture to relocate

According to the survey, 45% of respondents said learning a new skill is one of the top three exciting parts of international relocation while 40% of respondents reported that the aspect of widening their personal and professional networks is one of the most enticing reasons why they’d consider an international assignment.

On a more personal note, many of the respondents also reported that immersing in a different culture (44%), living in a location they or their family loves (38%), and learning a new language (32%) are other aspects of relocating they found most exciting.

Graebel shares that these numbers indicate that many employees decided to leave their jobs because they didn’t think they’ll have career progression if they stayed in their current roles. 

What was interesting for the firm was that few knowledge workers were comfortable approaching their employers about relocation opportunities even if they viewed them as a factor for staying in their company. 

These findings tell employers that it’s a good time to re-evaluate existing policies and procedures to provide employees a safe place to be open and honest with management and people organizers such as global mobility and HR departments. 

It’s important for employers to understand that without knowing this information from the employees themselves, they lose the ability to make sound judgments on important decisions concerning anything about talent. 

Now that we’ve discussed the drivers behind employees’ inclination for relocation opportunities, let’s see the other side of the coin and dive into Grabael’s insights on employees’ concerns about relocation.

Concern over relocation opportunities

A staggering 93% of knowledge workers reported that they have concerns over relocation opportunities. 32% of them claim that a possibly higher cost of living is their main concern. Additionally, 30% raised concern over cultural barriers while 21% were uneasy about the lack of accommodation for their or their family. ‘

For married or partnered workers, one of their concerns is the lack of career opportunities for their partners when relocating (21%) and 26% are worried about the effects of relocation on their children.

On a more positive note, 75% of knowledge workers situated in the Americas region believe their employers are more likely to give business support if they decide to relocate.

The numbers should send a signal to employers that they need to tap their global mobility teams and enhance their role in formulating strategies in order to attract and retain talent to support overall business goals. 

Graebel encourages organizations to take the following actions:

  • Meet employee’s every need
  • Advocate for talent mobility
  • Understand the wide spectrum of mobility duties and responsibilities
  • Have plans for mobile employees