SoloPoint Insights

Engineer’s Guide for Work Relocation

Relocating for a job is a big decision with high stakes. It disrupts personal life, strains relationships, and causes financial burdens. Once you move, it’s hard to go back. Navigating these risks demands careful planning for a smoother transition for you and your loved ones. Here’s an engineer’s guide to relocating for work:

The Trend:

With a 2024 projected growth of 1.2% in the Employee Relocation Services industry, there is an increasing trend of job relocation among employees. According to surveys, 40% of individuals move for career advancement or higher income, with 71% reporting positive new experiences after relocating. Additionally, 40% found a stronger sense of community in their new environment while many opt for affluent areas, drawn by factors such as work opportunities, education, relationships, leisure, cultural experiences, and personal development.

The Risk:

However, relocating to a new city also comes with high risks and trade-offs as this major life decision is often seen as a one-way door that you can’t easily reverse. Besides the financial burden, relocating can also disrupt your personal life and relationships, and it can leave potential career opportunities in your current work location.

How to Mitigate the Risks? Here are things to consider:

  1. The Opportunity: When considering work relocation, go beyond mere financial incentives. Key opportunity factors to consider include:
    • Location:  Make sure the location offers growth potential and will provide diverse opportunities in case of job instability or a layoff. Areas like Silicon Valley serve as an epicenter for tech industries and advancements, while the Midwest boasts a renowned industrial equipment sector, catering perfectly to Engineers and technicians. A survey shows that 55% of employees feel their career is on a better track after transferring to a prime position.
    • Relocation Packages: While there’s no legal obligation for companies to cover moving expenses, some provide job relocation packages as an added perk. It’s important to ask your employer about their policy regarding moving expenses coverage.
  1. Financial Considerations: Work relocations have significant costs involved. Make sure that the potential salary increase or career growth opportunities justify the lifestyle adjustments and financial investments you’re going to make. Financial factors to consider include:
    • Temporary Housing:  Temporary housing offers a short-term solution ideal for relocations, providing fully furnished accommodations suitable for productivity. Some companies offer a 30-day temporary housing period for relocating employees.
    • Cost of Living: Evaluate if the salary increase covers higher expenses in the new city. Research local expenses like dining, transportation, rent, and taxes to help adjust your budget and maintain financial stability.
    • Accessibility: Consider your proximity to the workplace and commute options. Calculate expenses for gas or public transportation fares to determine if these are feasible for your daily routine.
    • Lifestyle: Consider the availability of healthcare facilities, educational institutions, and other factors contributing to the overall quality of life for you and your family.
  1. Family Considerations: 
    • Partner Take: Consider your partner’s job prospects and how the move might affect your relationship, and take into account how well both of you adapt to change.
    • School Options: Evaluate your children’s ages and personalities to determine the best schooling options for your family. Move during a natural transition period to help facilitate their adjustment to the change.
  1. What’s negotiable with employers? Even though some companies offer relocation packages, there is no standard offering. Each employer may include different perks and benefits based on their policies that can be altered with negotiations. Here are some examples:
    • Trial Period: If the company is keen to have you, you can negotiate the option for a trial period to experience the position’s duties and responsibilities. With this, you can assess your fit for the role before making a permanent move.
    • Flexible start date: Relocation may cause unexpected delays that can hinder you from reporting for work on schedule. You may negotiate for a flexible start date giving you ample time to prepare and settle without undue pressure.
    • Fallback plan: Negotiate a fallback plan outlining steps if the trial period is unsuccessful. This may include arrangements for severance pay, reimbursement of relocation expenses, or assistance with returning to the previous location.
    • Reimbursement: While some companies provide a fixed relocation allowance, others may require employees to submit an amount. Make sure to have a calculated estimate of all your anticipated expenses before providing your total. 
    • Others: Employers may offer additional benefits to facilitate the relocation process. This could include covering expenses for insurance, transportation, packing service, family support, house-hunting trips to the new location, or providing assistance with living expenses until you secure a permanent home. Make sure to inquire about these benefits to maximize your relocation experience.
  1. What happens if I quit? Be aware of potential repayment obligations if ever you leave the company within a specified period after relocation.
    • Employee Relocation Repayment Agreement: Some employers require this legal document to ensure financial protection if an employee leaves or is terminated during or shortly after relocation. It outlines repayment terms and program implications if invoked.
    • Common repayment terms: Includes full reimbursement if termination occurs within 12 months or a prorated amount for up to 2 years, with benefits typically ceasing immediately upon termination.

Careful planning and aligning personal preferences are crucial for a successful work relocation. If you’re still looking for an ideal location, here are some recommended areas where engineers can relocate to and why:

  • California: California boasts high pay rates and extensive employment opportunities for engineers, especially in key cities like San Diego, San Jose, Los Angeles, Sunnyvale, San Francisco, and Orange County. Moreover, Silicon Valley stands out as a global hub for technological innovation, hosting major technology companies and diverse industries such as biotechnology, semiconductor, aerospace, and robotics.
  • Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s robust manufacturing sector contributes significantly to its economy, employing over half a million individuals. The state also offers a cost of living 10.1% below the national average, including essentials like housing, food, and healthcare. With 57 engineering schools, including top-ranked institutions, Wisconsin also ensures a high standard of engineering education.

SoloPoint Solutions’ Technical Recruiters can help match engineers with ideal roles in California or Wisconsin tailored to their preferences. Contact us today to discover your next career opportunity:

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