The Top Reasons Early Career Candidates Are Willing to Relocate For A Job

Need to convince a candidate to relocate? Read this.

Over the past several years, job candidates have been increasingly less likely to move in order to accept a new job. In fact,  the percentage of job seekers relocating for a job in 2019 was only 10%, the lowest it had ever been. And with the COVID-19 pandemic normalizing remote work  and shifting job seekers’ priorities, recruiters may be facing additional challenges in attracting job candidates who are willing to relocate for a job with an on-site requirement. 

The good news for recruiters specializing in entry-level talent is that there is a clear playbook to convince Gen Z candidates to relocate. In our new “What Gen Z Wants” report, we surveyed current college students about what would be most important to them in deciding if they would be willing to relocate for an in-person or hybrid role. Here are some of the top factors Gen Z is looking for when considering relocation. 

Large and mid-size cities are of most interest to Gen Z

When it comes to relocation, some parts of the country are more appealing for Gen Z candidates than others. In our Fall 2021 survey, 64% of students indicated that they would be willing to relocate to a large city (such as New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago) or a mid-size city (such as Austin, San Francisco, or Denver) for the right opportunity. Only 24% expressed interest in relocating to a small city (such as Portland or Tallahassee), while 17% said they would relocate to a suburban area. Rural areas garnered the least amount of interest, with only 5% of respondents indicating that they would relocate for an opportunity in a rural area.

If your office is in a large or midsize city, you can leverage location as a selling point during the recruitment process. But remember that if your office isn’t located in a major metropolitan area, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to attract Gen Z candidates! Focusing on other benefits that your company offers, or highlighting some of the advantages of living in your area, can also be a good recruitment strategy.

Gen Z candidates are seeking high compensation relative to cost of living, as well as great office spaces

Similar to how compensation is candidates’ top priority in the job search overall, 75% of students in RippleMatch’s Spring and Fall 2021 surveys indicated that compensation was the main reason why they would consider relocating for a role. As costs of living continue to rise, candidates are seeking salaries that would enable them to comfortably afford living expenses in that area. In addition to offering competitive salaries, you may wish to highlight if your location is known for having an affordable cost of living, especially compared to major hubs like New York or San Francisco.

Aside from compensation, students are drawn to great workplaces provided by the employer. RippleMatch research has shown that Gen Z candidates are interested in flexible work arrangements, such as hybrid work schedules that enable employees to split their time between working in an office and working from home. Highlighting your workspace, including benefits like team events, communal spaces, and employer-provided food, can make candidates even more excited about coming into the office.

Gen Z is looking for easy access to outdoor activities 

Outside of the office, employees will likely want to explore hobbies, events, and other things to do in their new city. In fact, just over half of the students in our survey responded that a top priority in deciding to relocate would be easy access to outdoor activities like hiking, camping, or going to the beach–features that can be found in urban, suburban, or rural areas. In your recruitment materials or as part of your final interviews, incorporate an on-site presentation or tour where you highlight some of the fun things to do in your city or nearby. If your company has a corporate membership to certain museums or cultural institutions, this would be a great time to highlight those, too. 

Relocation stipends can incentivize Gen Z candidates to move for a new opportunity

Making the transition to a new home as seamless as possible can help attract top talent, especially if you expect new employees to work from an office some or all of the time. For example, 42% of candidates in our survey indicated that a relocation stipend would be an important factor in choosing to live and work in a specific location. Even if your company policy does not offer a relocation stipend as a one-time payment, relocation assistance can take other forms, such as offering new employees support in finding a place to live, covering transportation or moving costs, or providing temporary housing.

With these data points, you can craft the relocation angle that aligns with what your company has to offer. If you’re located in a smaller city, tout your affordable cost of living and any great office perks. If your office is located in a larger city, you’ll be able to speak to the desire students have to start their careers in a lively, well-known city even if the pay isn’t as high compared to the cost of living. Whichever angle you choose, be sure to incorporate these selling points during the interview process so candidates are sold on the location alongside your company! 

To learn more about what Gen Z values in the workplace, download our new report.


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