Job Seekers Stop Moving for Work: Relocation Falls to Lowest Level on Record
Published May 16, 2023
Job seekers’ relocating for new jobs fell to the lowest level on record in the first quarter of 2023, as employers continue to offer remote and hybrid positions and job seekers become unwilling to move for work. Meanwhile, rising interest rates mean buying homes becomes a less attractive option as well, according to data released Monday by global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The data comes from a survey of over 3,000 job seekers across the country the firm conducts quarterly.
Relocation For New Jobs Grinds to a Halt
In the first quarter, 1.6% of job seekers relocated for new positions, according to the survey, down from 3.7% in the final quarter of 2022 and 4.6% in the same quarter last year. It is much lower than the 7.5% of job seekers who moved for positions in the second quarter of 2020, the highest since Q4 2018, when 7.7% of job seekers relocated.
“In the 1980’s and 90’s, nearly a third of job seekers would move for new positions. That has fallen steadily since, as housing costs have risen and companies have moved to where talent pools are located. Now, remote and hybrid positions are keeping workers at home,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The reluctance to move is possibly the result of job seeker demand for remote work options, though companies appear to be offering them less often. According to a new Challenger survey conducted online in April and May among 170 companies nationwide, 39% of companies are offering fully remote work options, down from 44% of companies who offered them last fall, and 61% who offered them Spring 2022. Fully remote work offerings peaked in Fall 2022, when 73% of companies offered them to their workers and hires, according to Challenger.
“Many employers are recalling workers to the office, at least for part of the time. Hybrid work is becoming much more common, and job seekers who are holding out for fully remote may have to concede some time to the office,” said Andrew Challenger, Senior Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
In fact, 32% of companies report most of their workers are in the office, though they’re allowing remote work on a case-by-case basis. That is up from 13% who reported this last fall. Of those companies with hybrid options, most workers are in the office two days a week with 29%, while 26% are in 3 days a week. Another 13% are in the office 4 days a week.
“Another reason job seekers have refused to move for work is the cost. With interest rates continuing to rise, mortgage rate increases and persistent inflation, the cost of selling a house and finding other housing may not be worth it to job seekers,” said Challenger.
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Contact Colleen Madden Blumenfeld for more data or to set up an interview with SVP Andy Challenger.
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