Top Factors Driving Relocation: Talent Wars 2023

The seventh edition of Development Council International (DCI) Talent Wars is here, a national research study on the behaviors and preferences of relocating talent.

Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 people across the United States (ages 21 to 65) who moved to a new location at least 100 miles away from their previous residence in the past three years.

DCI takes us into a deep dive into the top factors talent considers when making a career or location change, where they look to inform their decisions, migration patterns and more – all from the perspective of talent who relocated in the past 36 months.

Below are five of the top takeaways from the report:

1. Talent continues to prioritize practical factors over “nice to haves” when making a relocation decision

Cost of living, housing cost and availability, and safety and security remain the most important factors, followed by the ability to live, work and play without a long commute. The pursuit of quality of life remains a driving force behind relocation — but, most importantly, talent needs to know that they will find a comparable or better value in their new community. This underscores the importance of identifying “best bet” markets from which to recruit where your market competes favorably from a cost of living standpoint — and providing information and resources about the other factors that matter most to talent, including housing and safety.

2. Jobs are once again driving relocation post-pandemic

For the first time since the pandemic, accepting a job that required relocation rose to the top three triggers for relocation with the percentage of respondents reporting that they accepted a new job that required relocation rising from 21% in 2022 to 26% in 2023. When it comes to job-related factors, salary remains king, but work-life balance is increasingly important, as is the presence of additional jobs and advancement opportunities. It is critical that communities demonstrate the depth and breadth of available jobs so that talent can feel confident in the future of their careers and their ability to make a living there.

3. Ushering in the era of the Great Reimagination, talent is increasingly interested in opportunities to advance their skillsets or shift careers

Nearly 90% of respondents indicated that they would be willing to undergo additional training or education if it allowed them to shift their career path. However, 33% said that while they were interested, they were not aware of training resources. Of those that said they were open to training, 76% noted that they would be willing to relocate to a new region or state if it offered free training to upgrade their skills or job prospects. This illuminates the role that organizations involved in talent attraction marketing can play in drawing attention to existing training programs and educational resources.

4. The Internet continues to rise in importance as a source for relocation; Increasingly, talent is turning to the Internet during their location search

While first-hand experience remains influential when it comes to the perceptions of a community, the gap widened this year, with internet research firmly in the lead. Additionally, respondents indicated that access to a dedicated website about living and working in the area is very important, underscoring the importance of building a strong digital presence. In addition to covering the top lifestyle and career-related factors that matter to talent, websites of this kind should also include a diverse range of testimonials to illustrate to talent that like-minded individuals have already found success in the region.

5. Tech workers are more likely to relocate in light of the recent layoffs

Of participants who identified as tech workers, 65% stated that the tech layoffs increased the likelihood they will move out of the state in which they currently live. Further, 31% of tech workers reported that their primary trigger for relocation was accepting a job that required relocation, compared to just 21% of non-tech workers. This presents an opportunity for communities with tech or tech-adjacent employment opportunities to attract new residents looking for stability in their career and life outlook.

Download the full report, here.

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