New Year, New City? Workers and Managers Reveal Relocation Plans Amid Pandemic

  • 44 per cent of professionals would consider relocating, but only 16 per cent would be willing to take a pay cut to do so, Robert Half research shows
  • Nearly 3 in 10 companies are allowing workers to make a permanent move
  • Robert Half details three workplace trends for 2021 and beyond

Toronto, ON — A new study by global staffing firm Robert Half shows relocation is a big consideration for professionals and employers right now. Forty-four per cent of workers surveyed said they would consider moving to a different city if their company offered long-term remote arrangements, and another 3 per cent have already made a move. A separate poll of human resources (HR) managers suggests many companies are open to the idea of an anywhere workforce: 49 per cent of respondents reported their organization has allowed current staff to relocate temporarily, and another 27 per cent noted their employer was supportive of permanent moves.

View an infographic of the research highlights.

Why Workers Want to Relocate

While the motivation to relocate may vary, common reasons cited by workers include a change of scenery (37 per cent) and lower cost of living (32 per cent). However, the research shows salary remains a priority for most professionals: 84 per cent would not be willing to take a pay cut in their current job if they were to move.

“Most organizations transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic, and employees have proven they don’t need to be in the office to be productive," said David King, Canadian senior district president of Robert Half. "Now that companies are set up to support working from home, workers are more likely to pursue moving to an area that will enhance their standard of living and quality of life."

How Employers Are Addressing Pay

As employees set sights on moving to a new city, companies are having to reconsider how they approach pay. HR managers said they will determine salary for current staff who choose to relocate by:

  • The company’s office location: 69 per cent
  • The employee’s new location: 22 per cent
  • A decision hasn’t been made: 9 per cent

“Whether employees are considering permanent or temporary moves, the pandemic has accelerated the shift to an anywhere workforce and forever changed the way companies operate and manage their employees,” added King. “Flexibility and trust will both be critical as teams become more dispersed and organizations navigate ongoing change."

Robert Half identifies three staffing trends driven by the rise of the dispersed workforce:

  1. The talent pool will become an ocean. As organizations increasingly adopt a remote-first approach, they’re realizing the value of recruiting outside their city. Hiring managers can avoid wading through a flood of resumes and gain direct access to top candidates by partnering with a staffing firm.
  2. Investments are shifting. Companies are channeling more budget into technology that supports secure remote work and seamless collaboration, as well as employee health and well-being programs and benefits.
  3. Effective onboarding and offboarding are critical. While virtual onboarding has already replaced the in-person orientation process at many organizations, employers also need to reimagine how they handle employee exits from a distance.

About the Research

The online surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms from October 27 to December 18, 2020. They include responses from 500 workers 18 years of age or older, and more than 180 human resources managers at companies across Canada with 20 or more employees.

About Robert Half

Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The company has more than 300 staffing locations worldwide and offers hiring and job search services at roberthalf.ca. For additional career and management advice, visit the Robert Half blog at roberthalf.ca/blog