More companies are paying big costs to get good help, according to the 45th Annual Corporate Relocation Survey, conducted by moving company Atlas Van Lines.

According to the survey, 2012 saw a steep increase in companies willing to absorb relocation costs as an incentive to win employees. More than 400 employers participated in the survey, which offers encouraging news to qualified job seekers willing to relocate but hesitant to incur the costs.

According to the survey, 57 percent of the 400 employers surveyed offered full reimbursement of expenses to new hires. That was the highest level in more than five years.

Some are looking to incentives such as relocation costs as a sign that despite a challenging economy, more companies have to offer incentives to secure great talent.

A recent article in the Virginia Pilot noted that as many as half of big firms, such as defense contractor Raytheon, were offering payment of moving costs as part of their offer of employment to job candidates.

"If the market is getting more competitive, you have no choice but to offer some package of moving expenses," said Old Dominion University economist Vinod Agarwal.

Considering a job-related move can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000, having expenses paid for can be a significant incentive.

Some of the interesting data found in the 2012 survey:

Basic 2012 Results

  • Forty-four percent of executives surveyed believe the U.S. economy will improve in 2012.
  • Twenty-six percent of companies plan to relocate more workers this year than last.
  • After progressively declining over the past two years, 65 percent of firms are offering relocated employees full reimbursement, far more often than lump sum or partial reimbursement.

2012 Survey Fast Facts

  • Eighty-seven percent of firms have a formal relocation policy.
  • More than half of all relocations last year were new hires (52 percent).
  • Employees age 36-40 remained the most frequently relocated salaried employee in 2011 (36 percent). The majority of relocated salaried employees are male, with female employees only accounting for 20 percent of relocations on average.
  • Forty-six percent of relocations involved employees with children; 56 percent of those relocated were homeowners.
  • Seventy-two percent of responding firms give employees two weeks or less to accept an offer to relocate.
  • Eighty-two percent of companies pay to pack all items; 80 percent pay to move an automobile and 49 percent pay to unpack all items. Thirty-three percent of companies are willing to reimburse to have permanent or extended storage of some possessions.

Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who currently works as a professional writer, blogger, social media expert, commentator, editor and public affairs practitioner. Diana previously worked as an editor and senior communications analyst for the Department of Defense.

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Diana M. Rodriguez is a native Washingtonian who works as a professional freelance writer, commentator, and blogger; as well as a public affairs, website content and social media manager for the Department of Defense.