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Relocating for a role – A good or bad idea?

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In the last few years we have seen a major move towards more home working as a result of the pandemic. We now receive a large volume of applications from professionals who do not live in the area and have no plans to relocate. Very few companies are able to operate on a complete remote working basis and with the clients we are working with whilst hybrid is likely (although some are still preferring 5 days a week in the office) employers are still keen for people to be in the office during probation more frequently for inductions, on-boarding and to really get the know the business and the people they will be working with. On the rare occasion there is a fully remote role employers are suggesting they would like people within a relatively commutable location so they are able to still attend meetings or functions and events.  

Recently a client posed a question -  ‘will people still relocate for a job?’. This led me to examine the pro’s and con’s of doing so.

Firstly, most people’s personal circumstances will normally dictate whether they will move for a role. We often hear from graduates who will consider a move, those that do not own houses and people that have moved to Britain and so do not have any permanent roots. It is probably obvious, but it is far less common to see professionals with children at school make the move, unless they feel the area they are moving to offers a better education and that uprooting the family will not be too tough.

The most obvious reason to relocate is probably career progression. Many ambitious people would work anywhere if they thought it could get them where they wanted to. However, personal circumstances will be the main reason people cannot simply move for a role, no matter how ambitious they are.

Another obvious reason that people will sometimes consider moving would be a role that puts them in a far better financial position. This could mean a hefty pay rise or prospects of that in the future. However, often it also means weighing up the general cost of living and the cost of buying a house in the area they are planning on moving to. If the job role is good and it costs much less to live somewhere then the move can be a great decision, however, it can be difficult for many to move from some areas where housing is cheaper into areas nearer to London, where the cost of living may be much higher.

It isn’t uncommon to see people relocate to an area that was previously familiar to them. This could be a city they went to University or perhaps where they had grown up and moved away from, family still in the area can also be a real “pull” for them. Or it could be an area where they have regularly gone on holiday. A sense of familiarity can make any relocation more comfortable.

A perceived better quality of life can also be tempting for some candidates. Moving to an area where it appears life can be slower, with more countryside or by the sea is a reason many people will choose. On the flipside of this, some are drawn to city life where they believe they will have a more varied social life.

Over the years I have known many people relocate abroad for roles. Most of the time this happened it was more about personal experiences than career acceleration. Some people enjoy experiencing different cultures and having the chance to explore countries which would otherwise be difficult.

For many people the thought of moving for work is simply too daunting to experience. The social environment they are familiar with would need to be forged again, they would miss friends or family too much or the thought of selling a house with the risk of not liking a new area is too much to consider.

The final point we made to the client that posed the question to me is that currently there is probably less reason for candidates to ‘risk’ a relocation unless all the positives they are looking for are met. This is simply because the market is so candidate driven. For most people they would be able to ‘tick’ much of their wish lists without actually having to move as there are more roles in the market than people looking. With some companies able to offer complete remote working, then why would you need to physically relocate. If companies are offering Hybrid then does that mean that actually people may be inclined to travel further and not relocate as they wont need to do the journey on a daily basis.


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