The number of people in the US who relocated for a new job last year declined to 3.5 million from 3.8 million in 2015, the Wall Street Journal‘s Rachel Feintzeig and Lauren Weber reported on Sunday, citing census data. Even as the US population has grown, the number of relocations has been on a downward trend overall since the government began tracking this data in 1999. A new analysis from Challenger, Gray & Christmas looks back even further and concludes that the percentage of job seekers willing to move for new jobs has fallen dramatically since the late 1980s: Between 1986 (when Challenger began collecting data) and 1990, the average annual relocation rate was 35.2 percent, compared to just 11.3 percent on average between 2007 and 2017.
Various factors can discourage candidates from taking jobs that require them to move, experts tell Feintzeig and Weber at the Journal. One major variable is housing costs: If candidates can’t afford to live in the high-cost cities where jobs are abundant, they won’t take those jobs. The high rents and other costs of living in powerhouse cities like New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles can make it difficult for Americans from less expensive parts of the country to move there, even for comparatively lucrative work. When real estate values are low, on the other hand, candidates may be reluctant to move if they own a home they can’t sell; this is why, when General Electric moved its headquarters from Fairfield, Connecticut to downtown Boston in 2016, the company offered to buy relocating employees’ houses if they were unable to sell them.
Beyond housing considerations, workers may be unwilling to move because they don’t want to disrupt the lives of their spouses or children. Dual-income families may hesitate to relocate when one partner gets a job offer in another city, if that means the other partner will have to quit a good job in their current location. Such a move often means temporarily losing household income earned by the second partner and might also depress their future earnings.
Barclays is taking direct ownership of its French, German, and Spanish branches away from its UK company and putting them under control of Barclays Bank Ireland, Reuters reported on Monday. The move by the UK-based international bank to expand its Irish entity, which it announced last year would become its post-Brexit European headquarters, is part of its contingency plans for ensuring the smooth continuation of its European operations after Brexit.
Barclays plans to ultimately move all of its European branches under the aegis of the Irish bank. These include corporate and investment banking businesses in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, and the Netherlands, according to Reuters. After absorbing these businesses, Barclays Bank Ireland will have total assets of around £224 billion (250 billion euros, or $286 billion), which the Irish Times reports would make it the largest bank in Ireland.
These entities will ultimately remain under the ownership of Barclays’ holding company in London, but will be directly owned by the Irish bank. This is meant to ensure that even in the event of a “no-deal” Brexit, in which the UK crashes out of the European Union with no special trade arrangements, Barclays will be able to continue serving EU customers without disruption as its businesses will still be based in a member state.
It is not clear what impact these moves will have in terms of jobs, though the Irish Times notes that the bank had already outlined plans to add up to 200 new employees in Ireland; overall, Brexit-related reorganizations at banks are expected to result in tens of thousands of jobs disappearing from the City of London.
Two major European manufacturers have said they might have to pull out of the UK if London and Brussels fail to reach a deal on Brexit, or if the UK government is not able to provide some clarity over what to expect in that deal. First Airbus, the France-based airplane manufacturer, published a Brexit risk assessment last Thursday indicating that “the UK exiting the EU next year without a deal … would lead to severe disruption and interruption of UK production” and “force Airbus to reconsider its investments in the UK, and its long-term footprint in the country.”
The manufacturer employs 14,000 people directly in the UK and supports another 110,000 jobs through its 4,000 suppliers in that country. A withdrawal from the EU that removes the UK from the European customs union would disrupt Airbus’s cross-channel supply chain. The current planned Brexit transition, scheduled to last through December 2020, is “too short for Airbus to implement the required changes with its extensive supply chain,” the company said, and will require it to “carefully monitor any new investments in the UK and refrain from extending the UK suppliers/partners base.”
The German automaker BMW has also warned that it will have to think about moving its operations out of the UK if Downing Street does not get clear on its plan for Brexit soon, according to the BBC:
A recent study from Glassdoor uses the site’s job search data to track how many candidates are looking for jobs outside their home cities and figure out which of the 40 largest American metro areas are the biggest talent magnets. Using a sample of more than 668,000 online applications on Glassdoor during the week of January 8-14, 2018, the study looks at where Americans are looking to move for work, who is moving, and why, Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain elaborates in his introduction to the report.
One key finding is that while the prospect of a higher salary might seem like the most likely reason for a candidate to skip town (our research at CEB, now Gartner, shows that salary is consistently the most powerful attractor of talent), Glassdoor finds that it’s not the strongest driver of these moves:
- Salary drives candidates to move. But the effect is small. An extra $10,000 higher base salary predicts candidates are about a half percentage point (0.41 percentage points) more likely to be a metro mover — a statistically significant, but small effect.
- Better company culture is more attractive. Having a 1-star higher overall Glassdoor rating predicts candidates will be 2.5 percentage points more likely to move metros for a job. That’s statistically significant, and roughly six times larger than the impact of offering $10,000 higher pay.
Metro movers tend to be younger, better educated, and earn higher pay than candidates who stay put. This makes sense, insofar as moving cities is expensive and more likely to be worth the trouble for a high-paying job. The most mobile jobs, Glassdoor’s study found, include chemical and industrial engineers, software developers, and data scientists (and of course, flight attendants). All of these jobs pay enough to be worth moving for, but also aren’t available everywhere: A software engineer in rural Idaho, for example, has a much better chance of getting a job if they are willing to move to a tech hub like the San Francisco Bay Area. By comparison, the least mobile job title—bartender—is available anywhere.
San Francisco is indeed the most common destination for metro movers, Glassdoor notes in a press release, along with New York:
Goldman Sachs has put more than a dozen of its London-based bankers, salespeople, and traders on notice that their roles will be relocated to Frankfurt in the coming months, Reuters reports, amid uncertainty over the ability of banks to conduct continental European business from the UK after it leaves the EU:
After months of patience and private lobbying, the U.S. investment bank has decided it can no longer wait for clarity from lawmakers on how its business might be impacted by Britain’s exit from the trading bloc and is taking the steps to minimize disruption to clients.
It has informed members of its London-based derivatives and debt capital markets teams working on German accounts that their activities will be relocated to its base in Frankfurt and to make the necessary preparations to move to those offices by end-June, the sources told Reuters.
A source tells Financial News that these transfers are part of a broader strategy to move staff closer to their clients and not part of Goldman’s Brexit contingency planning. However, the report comes just days after UK Prime Minister Theresa May that the divorce agreement would not retain the existing arrangement of “passporting” rights that allow financial firms to sell their services across the EU upon being licensed to do so in just one member country. The financial sector and industry groups have lobbied the government to maintain the passporting agreement, but May said Britain would not become a “rule taker” deferring to the authority of Brussels and would instead seek “a new relationship on financial services based on this concept of mutual recognition.”
The advent of telework allows for the possibility that fully remote workers could spend their lives traveling across the globe without having to take a day of PTO. While this freewheeling lifestyle sounds great for those with an itch for seeing the world, it comes with some serious legal challenges, primarily when it comes to establishing residency for tax purposes. Currently, most “digital nomads,” as they’re known, use a tourist visa to enter whichever country they want to work out of and then leave, but technically that’s illegal. Estonia is looking to solve that problem through a visa program for digital nomads, expected to launch in 2019, which will entitle holders to live in Estonia for a year at a time but visit Schengen Area member countries for up to 90 days.
“In terms of the future of work we are all navigating, there is no policy to support the new ways of working,” Karoli Hindriks, the Estonian founder of the international job search platform Jobbatical who proposed this idea to his country’s Ministry of the Interior, told Rosie Spinks at Quartz. “A digital nomad visa represents a breakthrough in the way governments support today’s mobile workforce.”
Estonia already has a successful startup environment and is one of the most tech-forward nations in the world: In 2005, it became the first country to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014 it offered e-residency programs for location-independent entrepreneurs in an attempt to become a more attractive destination for business formation. The popular web chat program Skype, now owned by Microsoft, was built by an Estonia-based developer team in 2003.
Montreal (Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock)
Amazon’s announcement that it would be opening a second headquarters in North America kicked off a process that saw 238 cities apply for the opportunity to gain a projected 50,000 jobs and billions in construction projects for their economy. The Seattle-based tech giant has whittled the list of proposals down to 20 and will certainly have advantageous terms wherever HQ2 ends up being built, but Amazon is also benefitting from this process in some unseen ways—as are the cities that didn’t make the cut.
Nick Wingfield of the New York Times reports that a few of the submissions passed over for the recent list of finalists, including those of Kansas City, Montreal, and Detroit, earned favorable opinions from Amazon’s leadership even if they won’t be the site of the company’s second headquarters. For example, Montreal’s plan for attracting foreign talent impressed them, Kansas City outlined programs for teaching technical skills in schools and veteran hiring strategies that aligned with the company’s values and priorities, and Detroit impressed in a number of ways despite missing the cut, in part due to a lack of regional talent. As a result of putting their best foot forward, those cities could end up as future locations for an Amazon warehouse or satellite office.
“Through this process we learned about many new communities across North America that we will consider as locations for future infrastructure investment and job creation,” Amazon’s head of economic development Holly Sullivan said in a statement.