The decision to relocate for a job is never an easy one, but over the last few years, plenty of people that wouldn’t have considered moving for work have had to bite the bullet and take jobs in other states thanks to the poor economy and the high unemployment rate. Before the Great Recession, most people could rely on their local job market to deliver opportunities for gainful employment following layoff, firing, or other types of job loss. They didn’t have to resort to moving out of state in order to keep a job with their current employer or to find work with a new company. But things have changed, and until the economy recovers and hiring increases, many people will find themselves in this sticky situation, considering uprooting their lives and their families in order to earn a living somewhere else. For this reason, it’s probably a good idea to brush up on your negotiating skills so that you can get the best possible relocation package in the deal.
When you’re staying with your current employer but moving to another state in order to take a position with a different branch of the company, you are likely to receive a better relocation package than you would if you were taking a job with a new company. But still, the market relies on supply and demand, and at the moment there are a lot more workers seeking jobs than there are companies hiring, which puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to negotiations. Still, your reputation, education, experience, and loyalty to a company could make you a more favorable candidate, so you may still have some leverage. But you should go into the process knowing that relocation packages are unlikely to be as good as they were before the recession. Unless you happen to be a high-level executive or some kind of rare expert in your field, you might not have too much wiggle room when it comes to negotiations.
That said, there are a couple of things to think about. The first is salary. Generally speaking, salaries are negotiable; not because you are moving, but because most companies are willing to adjust your compensation based on education, experience, and other factors anyway. Just keep in mind that the cost of living in the area you’re moving to will also have an effect on the salary offered. So if it seems low, you might want to look into the cost of housing, utilities, transportation, and so on in the new area to see if they are significantly lower than your current expenses.
Of course, you will still have to contend with the many expenses and hassles associated with moving, including selling your home, packing and shipping all of your stuff, and transporting your family to a new location. This is what your negotiations will really center on when it comes to creating a relocation package. In some cases, companies looking to hire you will offer no additional compensation for relocation, but often you can negotiate for at least partial coverage of some expenses. You will most likely be offered a lump sum for the move to use towards whatever costs you have. But some employers may agree to reimburse you for shipping fees or even pay for the cost of relocation for you and a spouse.
You might also negotiate coverage for loss on a home sale, or even mortgage assistance if you decide to purchase a home in your new location. You should do some research on a site like Movoto or Zillow first to see what you can get for your home and what you’ll pay in your new state of residence, and you certainly need to estimate the costs of moving your family and your stuff. Having this knowledge going in can only help you in your negotiations.