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Executive Hiring: 6 Tips for Relocation When Recruiting Top Leaders

Jim May

In a post-Covid labor market, organizations across the U.S. continue to face challenges in finding enough talent to fill open roles. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, There are 1.7 million more Americans out of the workforce than in February 2020. The most recent data shows that there are more open jobs than there are unemployed workers.

Adding to difficulties for employers who are seeking to hire new talent, a survey by the Chamber of Commerce revealed that about half (49%) of the respondents are not willing to take jobs that do not offer the opportunity for remote work.

With a large gap between open roles and available talent, organizations face a challenging path ahead to fill their open positions:

  • 2023 marked a record low in the number of people relocating for jobs, a stark contrast to previous trends.
  • Only 1.6% of job seekers relocated to fill new positions, the lowest level ever recorded.
  • This figure stands in sharp contrast to previous years, where it was not uncommon to see up to 25% of the workforce moving for job opportunities, or during the pandemic moving to a new city or region, due to a new, broad acceptance by employers of remote work.
  • This drastic reduction highlights a fundamental change in the dynamics of the labor market and possibly reflects broader shifts in workplace preferences, influenced by changing economic factors.

Employers need to rethink their executive hiring strategy to expand their geographical pool of talent by actively promoting relocation and offering incentives. If relocation is not handled appropriately, it can cause financial consequences for the organization and individual goals of the relocated employee.

In this blog, we share tips for employers on how to get relocation right. We also offer tips for candidates who may be on the fence when it comes to considering relocation, and share ways to make this a successful experience.

Relocation and Work-life Balance

The pandemic led to a shift in candidate preferences as they are now placing a much higher value on flexibility and work-life balance. A report by hiring software company Greenhouse revealed that 76% of the respondents to their survey would quit their job if their employer took away flexible work arrangements. This poses a challenge for relocation as moving to a new location can be a source of major disruption for the family.

According to HR Reporter, organizations must keep in mind the following potential hurdles that were once seen as “soft” issues but are increasingly becoming “hard” issues that make relocation a tough sell:

  • Career assistance for the spouse, senior-care support for dependent parents or in-laws
  • Educational assistance for children
  • Community adjustment assistance for the family


6 Tips for Enabling and Encouraging Relocation in Executive Hiring

Below are six strategic ways that hiring companies can promote the benefits of relocation to candidates, as well as resources they can provide to candidates to help them research and navigate the opportunities in moving to a new location.

1. Highlight Your Company Culture as a Key Attraction of the Role

A healthy company that promotes inclusion, growth, and employee well-being can attract potential employees, especially when relocation is involved.

Show potential candidates how your company fosters a supportive work environment, opportunities for professional development, and a sense of diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging. Convey the unique employee benefits that set your company apart, such as flexible working hours, wellness programs, or community engagement initiatives.

2. Educate Candidates on the Hidden Gems of Smaller Locations

Smaller towns and less prominent or known locations offer unique advantages including the availability and quality of local schools, which is an important consideration for those relocating with families.

Highlight the close-knit community feel, lower living costs, and unique local attractions that these areas provide. Show candidates how these aspects contribute to a higher quality of life.

3. Offer Comprehensive Relocation Support

Providing robust relocation support can be a decisive factor for candidates.

This includes financial assistance for moving expenses, help in finding housing, and integration services such as local orientation or language classes. Addressing candidates’ fears and hesitations about the financial aspects of relocating, especially in uncertain economic times, can support a smooth transition.

Additionally, provide information such as local housing market listings and mortgage rate forecasts early in the process:

  • This may be especially significant now, as median home prices have increased 26% since 2020 due to rising mortgage rates. They are predicted to rise further in 2024 — candidates may find it more beneficial to consider home-buying in a smaller town or city.
  • In light of these market conditions, include a recommendation for partnering with a local real estate agent. Agents can offer personalized guidance and insights specific to the area, complementing general market data, and provide more comprehensive support for buyers navigating this dynamic housing market.

4. Present Real-world Examples of Executive Hiring and Relocation

Share success stories of employees whose relocation led to significant career advancements.

Real-life examples can illustrate the potential benefits and opportunities that come with accepting a relocation offer.

5. Go Beyond Monetary Incentive

While salary is a key consideration for candidates, it is not the only factor they consider. Offering additional total rewards benefits like flexible hours, talent development and opportunities for training and development may help in the candidate’s decision to relocate.

6. Get Creative with Compensation Packages

Develop innovative compensation packages that go beyond the traditional salary. This could include customizable benefits packages, mentorship programs, and sign-on incentives. Tailoring these packages to meet the individual needs and preferences of candidates can make the prospect of relocation much more enticing.

In today’s dynamic job market, companies seeking to recruit and relocate top talent must prioritize adaptability, an understanding of candidate needs, and innovation in their recruitment strategies. Key to your success is appreciating candidates’ preferences for flexibility and work-life balance and showing the unique benefits of the location for this role.

Providing comprehensive relocation support, sharing success stories, and innovating beyond traditional compensation packages are essential. Ultimately, the employer’s ability to adapt and offer tailored, supportive solutions to potential employees is crucial to navigating the complexities of modern relocation and recruiting the top talent a role deserves.

Relocation Resources for Candidates and Employers


Housing Market and Mortgage Resources

Related Links:



Jim May, Principal, Executive Search, Frederickson Partners

Jim May , Principal in Executive Search at Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher Company, has established himself over the past decade as a trusted advisor and go-to resource for top-tier organizations seeking exceptional leadership talent. As an advocate for human resources and organizational success, Jim brings a unique blend of expertise in strategic consulting and leadership development to every search he undertakes. He has also worked in numerous talent acquisition roles over his career. (See Jim's LinkedIn.)

Read Jim May’s Full Biography.

Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher company is a market leader in retained executive search since 1995. As one of the top-rated HR executive search and C-suite recruiting firms, we have expertise in placing Chief People Officers, Chief Human Resources Officers, Chief Diversity Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Legal Officers and many other senior leaders. We draw on a broad network of rising and established executives and leaders, and a 28-year reputation as a talent acquisition and HR Advisory provider.

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