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Top 3 Reasons Job Seekers Relocate for a Job

In a recent survey done by Glassdoor, they polled the top 4 reasons employees would considering moving themselves and their families to relocate for a job.  Some of these reasons may surprise you and it gives insights to companies and employers on how to attract great talent with the right amount of incentives.

Some Personal Experience

Since I've graduated from college, most of my small graduating class (about 69 of us) started slowly moving away.  Granted some of these students, friends were going back home but most of them travel far, either for love, for exciting, for interest or for an exciting opportunity in a great role.

I was one of them.  I went to Engineering school and I found a niche that was interesting at the time.  There weren't that many jobs of that nature in town and lived in the suburbs of a big city in Canada.  I had a job opportunity with a Fortune 100 company but it meant that I had to relocate about a 2-hours drive away.

It wasn't feasible to drive every day on my own, so I moved and the company also offered an incentive for the move which at the time (if I recall) was about $1500.  The moving allowance wasn't a big deal -- it was in the depths of the Financial Crisis, work was hard to come by especially for a new graduate.  I was lucky to find this contract role and one where they offered to pay me some money upfront.

What made me relocate for a job ultimately was the role was meaningful to me. I was in line with what I was looking for and where I wanted to start my career and even though it was moving out of a big city, I decided to take the plunge.

Prior to this, I did an internship in college.  So at this point I didn't how much experience in the world of work and what I should be doing or not.

Completely Unscientific Poll

My friends all did similar things but moved for all sorts of reasons.

One friend moved to be closer to home. (She found a job first before the move.)

One friend moved to be closer to his interests. (He was fascinated by Japan and wanted to live there.  He taught English and now owns a coffee shop in Japan.)

One friend moved for love.  She moved from Toronto to Chicago to start the green card process.

One friend moved because he couldn't find a job that as meaningful.  After some soul-searching, he decided to get his masters in London and now he's working in the industry he loves in England.

The work or personal desire came first, but the focus of it was the work that really solidified people's decision.  The companies or agencies help people get the necessary visas (if another country) or arranged travel etc.  Employers play a key role in finding the right individuals and to attract talent to their cities.

More Scientific Poll by Glassdoor

Even from the small sample size of myself and my friends, we can see some themes here which I'll write about below.  These are similar themes to what Glassdoor has found as well.

The main factors for people deciding to uproot themselves for an employer and job are, in no particular order:

  • Salary
  • Opportunity
  • Company Culture

Money Can Only Incentivize So Much

While it's obvious that money talks, the survey found that an nominal increase of $10,000 wouldn't really be big enough for people to move.  For most Product Managers say who make between $85k and $130k, that amount is really a very small fraction that seems like an inconvenient to move.

Company culture beats money in terms of making a valid reason for the switch.

And it goes without saying if the company culture AND the opportunity for advancement or role is more in line with where the job seeker wants to do and work in, then it's a no-brainer that people are inclined to what to move to another city for the new job.

There were also some other markers for who types of people are more likely to move such as:

  • Younger workers (unsurprisingly) are more inclined to move to another city for a job
  • Men are also more likely than women overall.
  • The higher the education of the candidate, the more likely they are to moving for a new job.

Top Cities to Relocate for a Job

Of the cities poll, these are the cities that have the most attractive qualities for job seekers.

  • San Francisco and the Bay Area
  • NYC

Have you moved for a job?  How about recruiters and employers out there, have you hired a job seeker where they moved for the company?  Talk about your experiences below.