160,000 'moved for work'

More than 160,000 people moved home because of their work over the past year, but staff were increasingly likely to resist relocation because of family ties, according to research today.

A report in Labour Market Trends showed that 25,000 workers whose jobs were relocated in the 12 months to spring 2002 moved abroad.

Men were twice as likely as women to move because of work, while managers, professional and technical staff were relocated four times as often as other employees.

Just over half of those affected received financial help from their employers towards their relocation costs, according to the report, compiled by the Office for National Statistics.

The research followed reports yesterday (Wednesday) that the finance director of retail giant Kingfisher, Helen Weir, was paid a relocation allowance of £334,607 when she moved from Southampton to London.

Another report, by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, predicted that help with moving house, better pay and promotion may no longer be enough to persuade staff to uproot and move to a new location.

Workers were increasingly inclined to set limits on when and where they will relocate, especially if they had families or looked after elderly relatives, said the research group.

Interviews with relocation agencies, employers and unions found evidence that staff were more likely to set constraints on how far they were willing to move.

Anne Green of the Warwick Institute for Employment Research, who helped write the report, said: "Employers should be asking themselves if relocation is really necessary and whether the same organisational goals could be met in other ways, including shorter distance moves that involve less family disruption."

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