Every year, Aires’ Consulting Services conducts a large survey focusing on a specific category of mobile employees. The survey typically rotates between three major areas in global mobility: domestic relocations, international permanent relocations, and expatriate assignments. This year’s survey, completed and released in December 2022, focused on U.S. domestic relocations. The Aires 2022 Domestic Trends Report highlights benchmarking data on all the typical and not-so-typical relocation services, support, and expenses provided to U.S. transferees and assignees.
Since Aires’ first edition of the Domestic Trends Report in 2010, many benchmark data points have remained the same, with few individual policy provisions seeing major changes over the last 12 years. Additionally, since the last domestic report in 2019, the world has experienced a global pandemic, major supply chain interruptions, decreased housing supply, and widespread inflation. Because the focus has been on dealing with these issues, few companies have made changes to their mobility programs over the past two years. Now that mobility activity has returned to pre-pandemic levels (or has even increased) for many businesses, we find that organizations are beginning to make some changes. These changes are based not only on benchmarking data, but also on individual talent needs, cost tolerance, organization culture, duty-of-care obligations, and environmental, social, and corporate governance initiatives.
Key Survey Findings
Among the survey data are the following key findings:
- The projected overall average number of relocations among survey participants for 2022 (278) is 17% higher than 2021 volume (238).
- 34% of survey respondents confirm remote work has caused only a slight decrease in mobility volume; another 16% report volume to be greatly reduced. Larger organizations are most likely to be impacted.
- There is a noted increase in the use of core/flex policies in domestic mobility, up 14 percentage points from 2019.
- The number of policy tiers utilized by organizations is currently 4.58, up slightly from 4.47 in 2019 and 4.48 in 2016. Four remains the most common number of policy tiers.
- The percentage of organizations employing a capped relocation approach is holding steady at 17%, compared to 18% in 2019. The average amount of a capped relocation is $35,240.
- Sixty-six percent of respondents confirm having at least one tier that only provides a lump sum payment to cover relocation expenses. Almost three-fourths gross up the payment.
- Miscellaneous allowances have increased compared to previous years.
- Home finding trip provisions have remained mostly unchanged, with higher tiers more likely to receive the benefit (and for a longer duration) and lower tiers less likely to receive the benefit (and for a shorter duration if offered).
- Temporary housing stays have remained unchanged, with 60 days being most common for higher tiers and 30 days being most common for middle tiers.
- Only 22% of organizations report paying a cash allowance to cover home finding, temporary housing, and final travel expenses; this is a new low since the practice became popular following the Great Recession.
- The Buyer Value Option (BVO) home sale is still the most common home sale method; 78% of respondents either offer it to all eligible homeowners or some eligible homeowners.
- The Guaranteed Buyout (GBO) home sale is still prevalent; 52% either offer it to all eligible homeowners or some eligible homeowners.
- Home sale incentive usage has declined for GBO and BVO programs.
- Loss on Sale is offered by 52% of respondents in at least one policy tier, holding steady with previous years.
- Eighty-four percent of respondents confirm provisions for home purchase expenses, with three-quarters covering normal and customary expenses.
- There is an 11-percentage point increase in organizations covering duplicate housing expenses.
- Approximately one-third of respondents confirm offering cost-of-living assistance.
- Almost all respondents confirm shipping household goods, with 24% reporting some form of cap – most often by weight – for lower- or mid-level policies.
- 50% of respondents confirm offering spouse/partner assistance.
- 30% confirm supporting pet relocation expenses.
- Renter support remains strong for both lease cancellation and home finding assistance; 26% of respondents confirm supporting renters purchasing in the destination, up from 20% reported in 2016.
- Attracting talent is the greatest challenge for organizations, which has surpassed employee reluctance to relocate (the largest challenge identified in 2019).
View the Full Report
To access the comprehensive 2022 Domestic Trends Report, click here. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your Aires representative.