By: Kimberly Chacon

November 7, 2023

This post is also available in: Español Français हिन्दी

reports and studies are showing that corporate relocation numbers and spending are as high as in 2017

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US, many companies are still trying to return to their old numbers and ways. While we are now coming up on three years since the initial pandemic wave, one sector is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel: the relocation industry.

Many employers or employees might need to learn about such an industry. But relocation management companies (RMC) are vital for businesses getting their employees from point A to point B. To sum it up, an RMC is hired by a company to assist employees in handling all the logistics of their move when they accept a job that requires relocation. From real estate needs to helping ship household goods, there are various services that an RMC can provide.

But like most other sectors, the relocation industry was hit hard when companies had to restrict employees moving around the country for the past few years. On top of that, with so many companies choosing a full-time remote setting, the need to move employees wasn’t as high.

The truth is now that numerous companies need talent and are back to be willing to move that new or promoted employee. As more and more companies and sectors shift back to standard quarterly numbers, so does the relocation industry. Many reports show corporate relocation numbers are back up to where they were in 2017.

Where are these employees moving to?

A recent report by Hire a Helper revealed that Florida has become the most attractive state for corporations to move their headquarters. The Sunshine State saw an 86% increase in corporations relocating their HQ, a record-breaking figure since 2017. The report analyzed Securities and Exchange Commission filings and found that 9% of American corporations shifted their HQ in the past fiscal year. This was mainly due to cost-cutting, favorable tax rates, or closer proximity to target markets. While cities like New York and Seattle have seen a decline in corporate headquarters, smaller towns outside metropolitan areas have become new homes for tech and pharma giants.

New data from the SEC shows that nearly 9% of publicly traded corporations in America, or 593 companies, moved their headquarters in the last fiscal year spanning March 2022 to March 2023. This marks the highest relocation rate in seven years, following a dip to below 7% in 2020 due to the pandemic. Comparing year-over-year figures, the number of corporations relocating their headquarters has increased by 29% from 458 in 2021-22. The trend of corporate headquarters relocation has increased, with more companies choosing to move their offices for various reasons. The figures indicate a significant shift in the corporate landscape and business operations.

According to Hire a Helper’s findings, the current increase in companies relocating their headquarters is the most significant in a decade, surpassing even the rebound seen after the pandemic in 2021-22. This year is proving remarkable, with a 25% rise in the number of corporations moving their HQs

Top Destination Cities for those relocating

Regarding favored locations for corporate headquarters, Waltham, MA, I experienced the most significant increase in corporate net growth among cities during the last fiscal year (+175%). Five companies relocated to this relatively small city near Boston, and none left. Waltham, MA, is home to several remarkable new corporate inhabitants, including biotech and pharmaceutical firms Cogent Biosciences and CinCor Pharma.

Burlington, MA, and Spring, TX, ranked second and third in growth, with a surge of 133% and 100%. Burlington has seen a boom in software and biotech firms, while Spring, TX, grabbed headlines when Hewlett-Packard relocated its headquarters. Additionally, three Florida cities made it to the top 10 list, with Jacksonville, FL recording a net gain of 67%, followed by Tampa, FL at 49%, and Miami, FL at 33%. Which U.S. cities are corporations leaving?

Surprisingly, Cambridge, MA, the renowned university town near Boston, has experienced a significant loss of corporate headquarters compared to the number of new ones gained (40%). The city’s thriving biotech and pharmaceutical industry has left little space for previous industry leaders. Seattle (-37.5%) and several cities in the Bay Area of California have also suffered considerable losses in company headquarters during the past fiscal year. New York City (-13.4%) is among the top 12 cities to have lost corporate HQs.

Reasons Companies are looking to relocate headquarters

Hire a Helper’s research indicates that the primary reasons for Americans to relocate are to find better housing or a new job. However, what motivates corporate relocations? One common assumption is that companies move to reduce expenses, which may entail relocating to areas with lower taxes. This could explain why more businesses are moving into Florida and Nevada rather than leaving. The Tax Foundation’s 2023 State Business Tax Climate Index measures how taxing state taxes are for businesses, and Florida and Nevada are among the ten states with the least tax burden. Meanwhile, Texas, which does not have a corporate tax, is in the 12th position.

Corporate relocation can be motivated by the high cost of office space, particularly in cities with expensive business rental costs. This is evident in the net losses of corporate HQs in cities like New York City and San Jose, where office rent levels are among the highest in the country. The pandemic-induced rise of remote work has further compounded the issue of high office space costs. As a result, major cities in America are grappling with high office vacancy rates as companies either continue to operate remotely or adopt a hybrid work model. To address this challenge, these cities require support and innovative solutions.

According to Hire a Helper’s examination of SEC filings from 2022-23, 62% of companies that relocated their headquarters in the past year chose to move to cities with smaller populations, which typically have lower rental costs. This trend is gaining momentum.

GMS Is Ready If You Are

Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) is here to assist you with relocating your headquarters or employees. Since 1987, GMS has been there to help employees get from point A to point B.  Our wide range of services and expert relocation specialists allow your company to get the necessary package. GMS will assist your company in putting together a global relocation plan that makes sense for your company and employees, all while staying within a realistic budget. If you’re ready to hear more about how GMS can help save your company money on relocation costs, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

What's happening in your industry? Request a Courtesy Benchmark report

At GMS, we make it a priority to know how talent mobility is changing in each major industry. What are the best practices? How are other companies changing their programs to retain a competitive edge? Your Mobility Pro will be in touch within 1 business day to help answer your questions and benchmark your industry.

This post is also available in: Español Français हिन्दी

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