When Should You Consider Relocating for Work?
By Alex Cox
Changing jobs is one thing, but what about moving city, province or even continent for the right role? How do you know if the risk is worth it? The 2011 Kelly Global Workforce Index TM , which consolidates the views and trends from some 97,000 respondents across 30 countries, offers a new way to think about this career dilemma.
Rather than waiting for the right role to lure you to new shores, the Index shows that our ability and propensity to move for work may be less about the company, the role or the salary we are offered, and more about us as individuals. Knowing what these trends are and how you might reflect them provides some insights that could help you plan your career for the long term.
Home is where the heart is (for some of us)
One of the main findings from the Index is that we’re slightly more likely to consider relocating for work as we get older, yet there is a steady proportion of people across all generations who will simply never consider moving for work. Almost one-quarter of Gen Y’s (23%) won’t relocate, regardless of the opportunity, while 19% of Gen X’ers and 21% of Baby Boomers feel the same way.
What this suggests is that if you feel that relocating for work isn’t right for you now, it’s likely that you’ll continue to feel this way throughout your life—you just may not be the transient type. So, it makes sense to seek out roles and organisations from the very beginning that will allow you the flexibility to remain in your home town, city or country without compromising career progression.
For those who will relocate, the survey results point out some distinct opportunities.
Some 85% of Generation Y respondents are willing to move for work, and 40% of those will be happy to make a substantial move, such as to another country or continent. Yet, only 21% of Baby Boomers will consider a move to another continent or country, and many of these (37%) will only be willing to take the role if they are home again within a year.
This provides a potential opportunity for people in older generations who can and will move for work, particularly for longer assignments. Similarly, Gen Y’s who want to stay put could offer greater stability and commitment to a role that their peers who are actively seeking movement may not.
Will unconventional become unsustainable?
Another key trend that emerges from the data is that working arrangements that include long or unusual hours, or a high level of travel are common, yet for most of us are only sustainable for a short period.
Almost half of respondents (49%) say their roles require them to work ‘long’ or ‘unusual hours’. A further 13% say they are required to travel ‘excessively’ and 13% report that their job requires them to live away from home. Yet, across all demographics, nearly half (46%) said these “unconventional” arrangements would become untenable within the next 12 months.
The younger you are, the more likely it is that you will be looking to exit a working arrangement like this within the next 12 months. The older you are, the more likely that these arrangements will suit you for the long term. So, before you accept a role that you already know has one or more of these elements, such as excessive travel or long hours, consider how long you’ll be able to commit to it and plan your next move before you burn out.
Today, the clearly emergent trend is that employees can now work anywhere, anytime—and many of them already do. However, the trends revealed in the Index show that talent mobility is a complex and changing dynamic as we move through our careers. Consider how you might fit within this picture and what opportunities are available to maintain the flexibility you may need in your career at some point.
For more access to results of the latest Kelly Global Workforce Index, visit kellyservices.com—you’ll find a wealth of insight and information at your fingertips.