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Outsourcing – Overall & International

Nearly three-fourths of companies outsourced relocation services in 2014, surpassing the peak of 2011 and marking the highest percentage in more than a decade. Compared historically, outsourcing falls below highs for large firms, comes close to highs for mid-size firms, and exceeds highs for small firms (54%). However, the vast majorities of large and mid-size firms practice outsourcing to a much greater extent and typically require a greater variety of services than do small firms.

Outsourcing for different service categories remained at levels similar to 2013 with five exceptions. Far fewer firms outsourced real estate sales/marketing (31%), real estate purchase (28%), household good carrier contracts (27%), expense tracking/reimbursement (23%), and tax gross-up assistance (19%). Levels for these exceptions all fell at or near historical lows. Most other service category outsourcing levels appeared within their historical mid-ranges. With the housing crisis abating and the restructuring of assistance by employee type, some services may have simply been less necessary in 2014.

  • Dramatic decreases in outsourcing real estate sales/marketing, real estate purchase, household good carrier contracts, expense tracking/reimbursement and tax gross-up assistance were driven primarily by mid-size and large firms. Outsourcing for most other categories remained similar to 2013 for these firms with two exceptions: far fewer large firms outsourced counseling about company policy (36% vs. 51%), and far fewer mid-size firms outsourced shipment monitoring (26% vs. 40%). Overall, outsourcing across categories typically fell in historical low to mid-ranges, well below historical highs.
  • Among small firms, most outsourcing categories fell last year in low to middle historical ranges on average, similar to their numbers in 2013.


Similar to the previous year, far more firms last year outsourced internationally than did overall (85% vs. 73%). International outsourcing is at historical highs. It is used heavily across firms of all sizes; mid-size and large firms continue to outsource a greater variety of services than small firms.

  • International outsourcing declined for most service categories, with levels falling in either the mid or lower ranges historically. The exceptions are: counseling about the planning & details of relocating internationally (40%), management of the international relocation program (35%), and international real estate services (26%) which are all near or at historical highs.
  • The biggest change across company size is that far fewer mid-size firms outsourced more than half of the international categories. Shifts at large and small firms were far less pronounced.

Among companies that outsourced relocation services domestically, the percentage that also outsourced internationally surpassed last year’s historical high (98% vs. 89%). Firms that outsource domestic services now almost universally outsource international services if they relocate employees abroad. Large firms were the most active international outsourcers: 45% or more of them outsourced nearly half of all listed categories.

Question 40-1
Possible outsourced relocation services in 2014
Chart Q40
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Question 40-2
Services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2014
Chart Q40-2
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Question 43j-1
List of possible outsourced international relocation services in 2014.
Chart Q43j
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Question 43j-2
International services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2014
Chart Q43j-2
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