International corporate relocations froze during the recession, but that trend is now thawing.
Canadian firms are assigning employees around the globe in growing numbers, according to a Canadian Employee Relocation Council poll to be published later on Tuesday. Top five destinations are the U.S., the EU, China, Australia and South America.
The recession dramatically slowed the number of relocations as companies hunkered down and cut costs. But more firms seem now willing to pay to move their staff to foreign locations as the economy recovers and companies are under more pressure to go global.
The survey found that employers have a brighter outlook than in 2009. Over the next year, a quarter of respondents said they expect relocation volumes in Canada to grow, a fifth expect activity between Canada and the U.S. to increase and a sizable 40 per cent expect international moves to increase over the next year.
The average cost of a move between Canada and the U.S. is about $77,000 and can be more than $150,000. International transfers typically cost about $97,000.
The typical profile for a transferee is a married professional, aged between 26 and 40, who earns about $95,000, said the council’s chief executive Stephen Cryne in a release. “It’s very likely that the spouse is also a professional with similar income and so decisions to move are made as a family unit.”
The survey of 100 employers, conducted every two years, also asked about relocations within Canada. It found employees are “far more likely” to move to Western Canada than other areas of the country. Those numbers are expected to grow as employment activity picks up in the oil patch, said Mr. Cryne.
The average cost to relocate an employee within Canada is in the $57,000 range “although some organizations shell out twice that much.”
“As the global race for talent heats up again, the strategic importance of talent mobility will increase,” said Mr. Cryne. “Companies will need to have competitive benefits in place in order to attract and retain their key people.”
Spousal and family issues are the most likely reason why an employee will reject a transfer, the poll found.