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Career: Relocation Opportunities

Last week I posted the following status update:
“After almost 30 years in Recruitment, I’m of the opinion that one of the biggest drains on economic growth is the real, deep-seated reluctance of Australians to embrace relocation for career opportunities.”
Whilst this was a comment made out of instinct based on my past experiences, I decided it was a topic worthy of exploring in greater detail, in which both sides of the argument can be explored. But given the modern, globalised world, coupled with the recent 457 visa revocation in Australia, and relocation for career opportunities becomes an increasingly likely scenario that more and more people will experience throughout their working life.
The reasons organisation’s utilised 457 visa’s varied. From skill shortages to operational efficiencies and cases of Australian workers who were qualified to perform the job at hand not being prepared to relocate for work. The abolishment of 457 visa’s places greater pressure on Australians to relocate for career opportunities. We therefore felt it necessary to explore the reasons for employees not being willing to relocate for work, and what businesses can do to make relocation a more attractive and seamless process for employees.
It goes without saying that many of the reasons for Australians not wanting to relocate for work, exist external to the job sphere. Family and community influences is the obvious, primary factor in this regard. Relatedly, the emergence of dual-career couples and families works as an inhibiting factor for many career relocation opportunities, as relocation would potentially require the spouse to sacrifice elements of their career progression. In this situation, employers do not need to implement an innovative recruitment strategy, but merely act with humanitarian values in assisting with family relocation efforts, such as networking for jobs for the candidate’s partner, or providing localised information regarding schools for their children, in order to ensure disruptions to family life are minimised.
However, there still remain a number of career and employment specific influences that often hinder people from accepting job offers requiring relocation. A major and common career-orientated resistance to relocation relates to concerns regarding sacrificing career development or further opportunities for promotion. Arguments could be made indicating that relocation, in fact, does the opposite – it opens up greater opportunities internally for career development as it shows your employer that you are committed to your role and to the goals of the organisation. Employers in situations such as this must ensure that they communicate potential career paths to candidates and provide clear opportunities for development. Failure to provide ample opportunities for progression will only be met with resistance. Another common job-related reason for resistance to relocation is rewards and remuneration. Without going into great detail on this issue, the reality is that an employee who relocates is exerting a greater commitment to the organisation. This increased level of commitment needs to be met with a similar degree of reward from the organisation.
Overall, I feel that Australians need to embrace relocational career opportunities more wholeheartedly, and given the current business environment, pressures to relocate are only likely to increase. Relocation opportunities are not only international, however; cross-national and even cross-city opportunities arise that may even only be of a temporary nature. Albeit, I must concede that relocation efforts are a two-way street, and employers must ensure that the relocation benefits they provide employees are equitable given the commitment applied. Concerted efforts on both ends can ensure vacancies are being filled and our domestic economy continues to grow.

John Gilbert
Principal – Options Consulting Group
M: 0408 697 128