Survey: When Americans Move, It’s Usually for Work

Survey: When Americans Move, It’s Usually for Work

Some economists have expressed concern that the US labor pool is insufficiently mobile to fill in the gaps in local labor markets with talent shortages, which contributes to wide disparities in unemployment rates among various metropolitan areas. The concentration of jobs and workers in certain areas also drives up housing costs in places like Silicon Valley, making it that much harder for those who do want to “go where the jobs are” to actually do so.

Yet Roy Maurer at SHRM passes along some new survey findings from Indeed showing that when Americans do move, they often do so in pursuit of a better job:

Indeed’s survey of 4,000 respondents showed that 45 percent of people who relocated within the past year did so for occupational reasons—either for long-term career prospects or for a job offer they couldn’t resist. Personal reasons play a key role in the decision to move for many as well, selected by nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent).

Sixty percent of those who moved for their careers cited a stronger job market as a driver, while 48 percent chose better opportunities for skill-building and 43 percent moved for increased compensation and benefits.

“Our survey results show that employers can still attract candidates from outside of their local talent pool with the right offer, particularly one which candidates feel would be better for their long-term career prospects or to broaden their skills,” said Daniel Culbertson, an Austin, Texas-based economist at Indeed’s Hiring Lab. “Some areas of the U.S. are doing much better economically than others, and workers in less-well-off areas often need to relocate to find a better job match, which is apparent in our survey,” he said.

Millennials were more likely than other generations to relocate in order to improve their long-term career prospects, Indeed found, while members of Generation X were the most likely to move because of a job offer they couldn’t resist. On the other hand, 36 percent of respondents to the survey said they had considered moving for a new job in the past year but had decided against it, typically either for personal reasons or because they got a better job offer closer to home.

Indeed also looked into where people are moving and found that Sun Belt cities with warmer climates, such as Austin, Miami, and San Diego, were the most popular destinations among Americans moving for work.

(For a closer look at talent and labor market data from around the US and the rest of the world, check out CEB TalentNeuron™, the most comprehensive source of global talent demand and supply data, predictive analytics and insights into real-time job market, location, and competitive intelligence.)