A new study by global staffing firm Robert Half shows relocation is a big consideration for professionals and employers right now.

More than half of workers surveyed (51%) said they would consider moving to a different city if their company offered long-term remote arrangements, and another 4% have already made a move.

A separate poll of human resources (HR) managers suggests many companies are open to the idea of an anywhere workforce: 50% of respondents reported their organization has allowed current staff to relocate temporarily, and another 38% noted their employer was supportive of permanent moves.

While the motivation to relocate may vary, common reasons cited by workers include a change of scenery (37%) and lower cost of living (22%). However, the research shows salary remains a priority for most professionals: 75% would not be willing to take a pay cut in their current job if they were to move.

“Pre-pandemic, job location was a big factor in where people chose to live," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half. "As many employees continue to work from home successfully, they're considering how a move might improve their quality of life, particularly if they can keep their current salary.”

As employees set sights on moving to a new city, companies are having to reconsider how they approach pay. HR managers said they will determine salary for current staff who choose to relocate by the company's office location (74%), the employee's new location (23%) or a decision has not been made (3%)

McDonald noted that while some employees are making temporary moves, “the anywhere workforce is here to stay. Adopting a flexible mindset will be critical for companies and professionals who want to thrive in a highly dynamic business environment.”

Robert Half identifies three staffing trends driven by the rise of the dispersed workforce:

  • The talent pool will become an ocean. As organizations increasingly adopt a remote-first approach, they are realizing the value of recruiting outside their city. Hiring managers can avoid wading through a flood of resumes and gain direct access to top candidates by partnering with a staffing firm.

  • Investments are shifting. Companies are channeling more budget into technology that supports secure remote work and seamless collaboration, as well as employee health and well-being programs and benefits.

  • Effective onboarding and offboarding are critical. While virtual onboarding has already replaced the in-person orientation process at many organizations, employers also need to reimagine how they handle employee exits from a distance.

The online surveys were developed by Robert Half and include responses from more than 1,000 workers 18 years of age or older and more than 1,000 human resources managers at companies in 28 major U.S. cities with 20 or more employees.

Paul Barker