Barriers to employees moving for new jobs include housing costs, disparate recognition of skills among provinces.
Less than half of Canadians are willing to relocate for work.
Less than half of Canadians would consider accepting accept a job or work contract that would mean they have to relocate according to a recent poll.
The survey by Ipsos Reid, for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council found that only 10 per cent of people are willing to move immediately even for a 10 per cent raise and paid moving expenses. Another one-third might be persuaded to accept a job in a new place if the right additional incentives were available.
The Canadian Employee Relocation Council’s president and CEO Stephen Cryne says disparities in housing costs across the country are a key factor making intercity or inter-provincial moves problematic for some homeowners.
Therefore it is not surprising legislative changes that might help to convince Canadians to relocate are tax-free housing allowances, non-taxable interest free employer-paid home purchase loans and up to two years of tax deductions for duplicate housing costs.
Top employer-provided incentives that survey participants said would motivate them to move were a 20 per cent raise and a guarantee they could move back to their current role after two years with further relocation assistance. Spousal assistance to find a job in the new city and a paid trip to the new city before accepting the assignment were also viewed as highly desirable.
Cryne notes that many employers already provide these kinds of incentives in relocation packages, particularly for highly skilled people like engineers, professional managers and financial analysts where the demand currently exceeds the supply of workers.
Related: 5 ways workplace laws protect you
Department of Finance research also confirms Canadians are more reluctant to move for a job than Americans. Suggested reasons for Canada’s comparatively low rate of mobility are greater distances (and therefore costs) to move between Canadian provinces and U.S. states, language and cultural issues and inconsistent credential recognition between provinces and territories.
But Cryne believes another key reason many Canadians are less willing to move for a job is this country’s more generous employment insurance program, that also includes benefits for seasonal workers. “EI benefits help job hunters buy time to look longer for work close to home,” he says.
The Canadian Employee Relocation Council, reports that the “typical” relocating employee is male, aged 28-40. Professional and technical employees account for the largest number of transferees, followed by managerial staff.
The average cost to relocate a homeowner within Canada is pegged at $53,500. For an international assignment, average relocation costs for a permanent transfer jumps to $125,000.The average annual income of a transferee in 2013 was $108,500, up from $95,000 reported in 2011.
The Canadian Employee Relocation Council is a non-profit organization that represents employers and employment relocation services.