New Survey Reports Major Changes in Employee Relocation Trends Over Last Year

Tuesday, 29 June 2004

For the first time in the survey’s history, the United States ranked among the “most challenging” countries for relocating employees, behind only China and Japan – due to increased security measures in the U.S. during the last few years.  Overall, companies reported major shifts in all aspects of relocation, costs, timeframes and number of family members accompanying employees.  The survey results are attributed to ever-increasing concerns over employee security and company costs in an ever-changing global economy.  Of those surveyed:

  • Up to 70% of transferred employees would have an assignment length of one year or less, a sharp increase from the historical average of only 13% with a one-year-or-less transfer.
  • Fewer relocating employees than ever before surveyed plan to bring their children with them on the transfer: only 51% this year.
  • Nearly 70% of respondents rated their “Return on Investment” by relocating employees as good or excellent, even with the reductions in transfer timeframes and budgets.

In addition:

  • China, Japan and the United States posed the most difficulties in relocating employees.
  • The United Kingdom, United States and France experienced the greatest reductions in expatriate activity.
  • Chief complaints from relocating employees and human resources administrators concerning U.S. assignments were: procurement delays with visa and social security numbers, immigration restrictions and frustration with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  Most of these complaints are attributed to new U.S. security measures to guard against terrorism.

“Once again, the findings of our relocation trends survey shed new light on one of the most important business functions: the ability to move employees to the places they are most needed,” said William Sheridan, Senior Director of International Relocation & Benefits for the NFTC.   “While the value of expatriate activity remains high across the board, significant shifts in world perceptions on the economy and individual countries’ national security gave us the most substantial changes in our 10-year survey history.  It is our hope that companies will continue to rise to the challenge of relocating employees internationally, even with these relatively new obstacles.  We believe that keeping the expatriate community a vibrant one fosters economic ties and relationships between countries, while simultaneously boosting company growth.”
For a complete copy of the Global Relocation Trends Survey, please visit:


The National Foreign Trade Council is a leading business organization advocating an open, rules-based global trading system. Founded in 1914 by a broad-based group of American companies, the NFTC now serves 300 member companies through its offices in Washington and New York.