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Taking a Job In Another City - Cool, Unless You Have to Sell a Home...

Had dinner last Friday with a good friend from a company I worked for in the past.  He's moving on to his next challenge and GET THIS - the company is offering the holy grail of relo - the home purchase program, if he doesn't sell it after 90 days.

That's increasingly unheard of these days, so my friend is fortunate.  The list of companies that will do theInterstate_migration_2 home purchase thing has been steadily shrinking over the past decade, and if recent numbers are any indication, the current economics of selling a home in America will surely push the final ones out.  From last week's New York Times:

"The rapid decline in housing prices is distorting the normal workings of the American labor market. Mobility opens up job opportunities, allowing workers to go where they are most needed. When housing is not an obstacle, more than five million men and women, nearly 4 percent of the nation’s work force, move annually from one place to another — to a new job after a layoff, or to higher-paying work, or to the next rung in a career, often the goal of a corporate transfer. Or people seek, as in Dr. Morgan’s case, an escape from harsh northern winters.

Now that mobility is increasingly restricted. Unable to sell their homes easily and move on, tens of thousands of people like Mr. Kirkland and Dr. Morgan are making the labor force less flexible just as a weakening economy puts pressure on workers to move to wherever companies are still hiring."

A telling chart to the right, perhaps a chilling one when you compare it to the last slowdown in the early 2000's after the dot.com crash. 

What about the consequences for HR and recruiting jockeys?  If relo becomes even more problematic than it has been in the past, what's that mean?  Settling for a candidate who's not a perfect fit?  Expanded time to fill stats?

Any way you shake it, the numbers and the consequences are ugly. 

It's a poster child for remote work with periodic travel, whenever and wherever possible.

Comments

Steve Roesler

As an aside, Kris, the benefits of that kind of relo package is helpful in another way: to a buyer.

We bought our home in 1996 from an exec who was being transferred. The company really didn't want to be in the real estate business, so we made a low, but reasonable, offer; it was accepted immediately. Wouldn't have bought the home otherwise.

Wally Bock

In today's market it may not be reasonable to expect an employee to be able to sell a house in 90 days. And it may be that savvy employees will refuse to locate without the purchase clause.

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