What Would It Take For You to Relocate for a Job?
Last year was a challenging year for American job seekers as corporations cut millions of jobs amidst the recession. This is why I was surprised to read that according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, only 7.3 percent of job seekers chose to relocate to a new town for a job in the last quarter of 2009. This is the lowest number of relocations since the firm started tracking the statistic in 1986. So what kind of incentives do people need to go where the jobs are?
One big deterrant to relocate is the support network that we have when we live in a place for an extended period of time. It is hard to pick up and leave a place when you have friends and family that help you out when you need it most. This support network is also extremely valuable when you are searching for a new job.
Another problem is that it is difficult to start over in an unfamiliar place. It takes time to learn the streets of a town and where all the conveniences are. When you have children it is also disruptive to their schooling. It is a challenge that many people do not want to take again.
Additionally, there is often a substantial financial cost to relocating. Moving expenses can be in the thousands, and if an underwater house is involved then the costs could be even higher. Some of these costs may be deductible on your tax return, but many unemployed folks these days just do not have the money upfront to facilitate a relocation.
With all of these issues, it is no wonder that many people relocate as a last resort, but I think companies that offer relocation packages make it a lot less painful. When my husband moved up to Northern California after graduating college, his former employer paid for all his moving expenses with the stipulation that he would stay for at least two years, and he did stay for two years. If more companies offered generous relocation packages then there may be more relocations, but the current reality is that most companies have too many resumes to sort through and probably have plenty of qualified local candidates.
Although competition for jobs is fierce all around the country, there are areas with fairly low unemployment rates right now. If you do not mind packing up and starting over in a new city, it may be a little easier to find a job in a place that is hiring instead of firing. The hardest part is making the decision to leave where you are now. What do you think? Have you considered looking for a job in another state or even another country? What would prompt you to relocate?