Thinking of Job Relocation? Consider the Pros and Cons

By Robert Half August 26, 2016 at 6:45pm

Are you itching for a change of career and scenery? You’re in good company. In today’s hiring climate, many finance professionals with highly transferable skills are relocating for new career opportunities.

Naturally, there’s a lot to consider before making a move. Concerns might range from where the kids will go to school to moving expenses and regional salary variations. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of relocation, along with some tips for long-distance job hunting.

Pros to job relocation

  • More opportunities — Your chances of career advancement can vary from city to city. For example, employers in one city might have a high demand for internal auditors at a particular moment, while organizations in another are looking for financial analysts. Expanding your search to a broader area can help you land the position you really want.
  • Greater leverage — Today, there aren’t enough skilled finance professionals in some markets to meet everyone’s staffing needs. More companies are reaching out to their networks and recruiters to find nonlocal candidates. That means you not only have a better chance of getting the job you want, but you have more leverage when it comes to negotiating your starting salary, signing bonuses, benefits packages and relocation expenses.
  • New experiences — Relocation can offer the exhilaration of exploring a new city and the excitement of working with new team members. And because your new coworkers will undoubtedly handle finance procedures a bit differently than you did back home, you may also learn new ways of tackling work challenges.

Cons to changing locations

  • Relocation is stressful — As individual events, starting a new job and moving are two of the most stressful situations most people encounter in life. You’ll be going through both at the same time. Add to this the fact that you may not have a local support system, and you’re looking at a lot of anxiety.
  • Moving is expensive — The costs of relocating can mount up. If your new employer doesn’t cover the costs of your move, be prepared to spend a lot on travel expenses, movers’ fees and setting up your new residence.
  • You may not see your workplace before moving — Your only meeting with the hiring manager might be over a phone call or in a video interview, something that’s growing in popularity. That means you’ll be walking into your first day of work with little idea of what the work environment is like. Your new firm may have a cramped, uncomfortable office floor plan that hinders your productivity. Or you might just get a bad workplace vibe.

Here are some tips for relocating for your job in accounting or finance.

1. Cast your net wide

To increase your chances of landing a job in a new city, reach out to former classmates, colleagues or connections in the areas you’re looking at. Recruiters are another excellent resource when you're applying for jobs outside your home area. The best finance recruiters have a national reach, and they can help locate a position that meets your salary needs and career aspirations.

2. Know what you’re worth

Make sure you’re aware of the average starting salaries for financial professionals in the city you’d like to move to. Consult the 2018 Robert Half Salary Guide to learn the going rates for your position, then localize the figures using our Salary Calculator.

3. Negotiate relocation expenses

It’s important to know upfront which of your costs your new employer is willing to cover. Many firms will pay for the transportation of vehicles and other possessions, as well as home-finding trips. Keep in mind that even if an expense — such as fuel or family airfare — is not reimbursed in the standard relocation policy, some employers are open to negotiating these items.

4. Plan a visit

You don’t want to start your new job only to be disappointed with your employer, coworkers or the scene in your new town. Even if your employer won’t compensate you for this particular trip, a fact-finding mission before you take the job is well worth the cost. Many employers will be happy to arrange a tour of the office or have some of your future coworkers join you for lunch to learn about your soon-to-be hometown.

The initial stages of relocation are going to be challenging. But having an idea of what to expect can help you mentally prepare for the transition, so you can tackle challenges head-on. Once you get settled into your new city and job, you may find it was the best career decision you ever made.

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