by Meridith Levinson

Extreme Commuting More Popular than Relocation Among Executives

Nov 19, 20072 mins

Long commutes may suck, but they sure beat moving for a new job, according to a Korn/Ferry survey.

Executives would rather spend three hours or more a day commuting back and forth to work than relocate for a new job, and employers are increasingly accommodating their preferences, according to a survey conducted online in August by executive search firm Korn/Ferry International.


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Over half (55 percent) of the 198 Korn/Ferry headhunters who responded to the survey noted that convincing candidates to move for a new executive position is more difficult today than in the past.

Rather than relocate, executives are opting for “extreme commuting” arrangements, whereby they travel to work by plane each week or commute by car for more than 90 minutes one way each day. Seventy percent of survey respondents say more candidates prefer extreme commuting over moving.

The leading reason executives don’t want to relocate, according to the recruiters who took the survey, is they don’t want to uproot their families. Only 10 percent of recruiters cited housing market costs as executives’ rationale for not wanting to move.

Reasons executives don’t want to relocate, according to survey respondents:

Family ties 50%
Lifestyle factors 27%
Housing market costs 10%
Other 8%
Decreased relocation budgets 4%
Stress involved in relocating 1%

Source: Korn/Ferry International, survey results based on 198 Korn/Ferry International consultants.

More and more employers are open to negotiating with executive candidates who don’t want to move. Four out of five executive recruiters, or 82 percent, said companies will consider increased business travel over moving for prospective employees.

The high tech industry is the most receptive to extreme commuting, according to respondents, 40 percent of whom ranked that industry the highest. Other industries open to increased business travel include financial institutions and consumer products companies. Retailers and insurance companies rank among the least receptive to increased business travel as an alternative to relocation.

When companies require a candidate to move for a job, 64 percent of executive recruiters say those employers make the inconvenience worth the candidate’s while by offering more money.

What companies are doing to attract candidates to relocate:

Additional compensation 64%
Flexible work environment 40%
Options for family visits 37%
Corporate perks 24%
Other 15%
Additional vacation time 13%
Higher titles 10%

Source: Korn/Ferry International, survey results based on 198 Korn/Ferry International consultants.