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More than three-fourths of companies outsourced relocation services in 2015, surpassing the peaks of 2011 and 2014 and marking the highest percentage in more than a decade. Compared historically, outsourcing is near the highest levels recorded for small, mid-size and large firms. However, large and mid-size firms continue to practice outsourcing to a greater extent with a greater variety of services than do small firms.

Outsourcing for different service categories remained at levels similar to 2014. Five categories saw marked declines in 2014 compared to 2013 and remain lower in 2015, as fewer firms outsourced the following: real estate sales/marketing (28% vs. 42%), real estate purchase (22% vs. 40%), household goods carrier contracts (27% vs. 42%), expense tracking/reimbursement (22% vs. 33%), and tax gross-up assistance (18% vs. 28%). Most other categories fell within historical mid-ranges. With the housing crisis in the past and the restricting of assistance by employee type, some services may have simply been less necessary.

  • Continued lower levels of outsourcing for real estate sales/marketing, real estate purchase, household goods carrier contracts, expense tracking/reimbursement and tax gross up assistance remain driven by far lower levels among mid-size and large firms compared to two years prior. Outsourcing by these firms for most other categories remained similar to 2014 with a few exceptions. Slightly fewer large firms outsourced counseling about company policy (25% vs. 36%), or about half as many as did in 2013 (51%). And far fewer large firms than last year outsourced counseling about the planning and details of relocation (30% vs. 45%) and orientation tours (28% vs. 42%), both of which are now at historical lows. Overall, outsourcing across categories typically fell in historical low to mid-ranges, well below historical highs.
  • Among small firms, most outsourcing categories last year fell in low to middle ranges on average, similar to their numbers in 2014.
Question 40-1
Possible outsourced relocation services in 2015
Chart Q40
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Question 40-2
Services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2015
Chart Q40-2
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Similar to the previous two years, far more firms outsourced internationally in 2015 than outsourced overall (85% vs. 76%). International outsourcing is at historical highs. It is used heavily across firms of all sizes, although mid-size and large firms continue to outsource a greater variety of services than small firms do.

  • Levels of international outsourcing remained similar to 2014 or declined for most service categories, with levels falling in either the mid or lower ranges historically. Three areas saw marked declines in outsourcing compared to the previous year: coordination/monitoring of international shipment (28% vs. 36%), management of international relocation program (24% vs. 35%), and arrangement of family’s international transportation (22% vs. 30%). Declines for the first two reflect fewer mid-size and large firms outsourcing them, while the decline in outsourcing of international transportation arrangements was driven by fewer large and small firms doing so.
  • While outsourcing across categories in 2015 for mid-size and large firms mostly declined or essentially stabilized compared to the previous year, small firms saw greater stability across categories with some marked increases over 2014: visa and immigration services (38% vs. 20%), counseling about company policy concerning international relocation (26% vs. 14%), and family temporary accommodations arrangements (21% vs. 11%).

Among companies that outsourced relocation services domestically, the percentage that also outsourced internationally is the second highest historically (95%), just under 2014 level (98%). Firms that outsource domestic services for the second straight year almost universally outsource international services if they relocate employees abroad. Large firms continue to be the most active international outsourcers: around a third or more outsourced more than two-thirds of all listed categories.

Question 43j-1
List of possible outsourced international relocation services in 2015.
Chart Q43j
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Question 43j-2
International services outsourced to a relocation service, HRO or brokerage firm in 2015
Chart Q43j-2
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