Relocation Issues in Today's Tough Job Market -- Who Will Pay?

Dec 10 22:00 2003 Elizabeth Kirwin Print This Article

In light of recent ... figures, and a ... downturn in the labor market, many ... ... are finding ... in a bind when their benefits or ... packages are dep

In light of recent unemployment figures,Guest Posting and a continual downturn in the labor market, many unemployed professionals are finding themselves in a bind when their benefits or severance packages are depleted. It is not easy to compete with 300-600 resumes for one job. Those seeking jobs through postings on the web or through a professional recruitment service must consider a new place to live as well as a new employment situation -- if they are serious about the jobs they are applying for.
For 14 years, Steve Hall has made a career in connecting great companies with great people in the IT industry, which is famous for turnover. Job seekers and companies in the post-911, and post-Enron business environment rely upon Hall and Find Great People (FGP) International, for worldwide recruitment services. Find Great People relocates to a new office in late October with complete with state-of-the-art equipment at 150 Executive Center Drive, B-82, Greenville, South Carolina in October.
Steve Hall has been a recruiter with the same company since 1989. He counseled and placed job seekers in positions through the downturn of the early Nineties, when another war was raging in Iraq. Despite the fact that politicians and business leaders may not be calling this downturn a recession, from a recruiter’s standpoint, these are definitely tough times. “In April 2001, the severity of it hit everyone around the country,” said Steve. He continued, “Since April 2001, it’s like being buried in mud. You have rises and falls. For a month or two there is hiring, like the flame is lit – then suddenly it drops back. This all weighs heavily on the minds of those in the labor force.”

Some professions, like health care, seem to be booming. But others, like IT, are on a long swing down. Job seekers are looking for an edge to be more competitive. Steve Hall believes relocation issues may be one key to unlocking the corporate mentality behind hiring in these times. “Differentiating factors between likely candidates for a job are important,” says Mr Hall. “Does the person have a two year or four year degree or a Master’s Degree? Is the potential candidate located within reasonable proximity, or will he/she have to relocate – and at whose expense? In addition, what are the costs of bringing someone in for an interview?"
As dastardly as it may sound, many companies are forgoing interview and relocation expenses for new employees since budgets are tight. “Let’s face it, relocation adds cost to a company’s recruiting efforts,” said Mr. Hall, “and the financial decision makers do not want to spend extra money on relocation.” So how do companies still manage to hire top talent onto their team? “They often look locally for employees first,” noted Steve. “Then a company may cover a one hundred mile radius, which is considered a commutable distance. Once these outlets are exhausted, they may launch a search in a multi-state area.”
Knowing these tactics exist, perhaps job seekers would be better served to seek employment within these distances first. Or, if the job hunter is willing to relocate, then the individual must entertain the idea of paying their own relocation expenses. Costs for company relocation can range from $3,000 to $20,000. “Some companies are still willing to pay relocation fees,” said Mr. Hall, “because they see a good employee as a wise investment. But it is not uncommon for potential employees to pay for their own relocation these days.”
It’s a hard pill to swallow, especially for job seekers who are on tight budgets themselves after a six-month to one-year or longer stint of unemployment. But cutting costs for companies now means passing it on to the job seeker. Perhaps sensing desperation on the job market, companies have decided they can now ask this of potential employees, without even a nod of disapproval from anyone.
What is the best approach for the job seeker who is willing to relocate in order to continue to work in their profession? “Speak to your family or those you cohabitate with first before applying to other areas, and see how they feel about the move,” advises Mr. Hall. “Ask some important questions of yourself. For instance, Is it within your financial budget to consider paying to move yourself and your loved ones?” If the answer is yes to all of these questions, Mr. Hall recommends the job seeker proceeds with an interstate search. “Don’t wait until the job offer appears before weighing these considerations,” he reiterated.

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Elizabeth Kirwin
Elizabeth Kirwin

Elizabeth Kirwin is a professional freelance writer and educator, based in Asheville, North Carolina. She has published articles natiionally in newspapers and magazines.

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