Companies transferring employees to new cities - Is this still a thing?

Is it still common for large corporations to transfer their employees to different cities every few years? I ask this because growing up during the 60s and 70s, my family moved five times to five different metro areas over an 11 year period at the behest of my father’s employer. This was the usual practice for executive employees of large companies from the 50s to 90s but I’m not sure if they still do this as often now.

State Farm moved a lot of people around fairly recently and seems still to be doing so, but this is in part about office closures.

Pretty much unheard-of in my branch of the IT industry, even though they did pay to relocate me from California to Minnesota when they closed down the shop there. I don’t know anybody else who’s ever been relocated on the company dime (IBM moved a bunch of jobs to new offices and told people they had to cover their own moving expenses).

My sister’s employer offered to transfer her from their offices in KC to their Nashville facility. It would have been a lateral move, not a promotion but they did offer a significant bonus plus relocation benefits to make the move.

Just had a friend get back from a year assignment in Germany; she’ll have to go back for a few, couple of week trips. They paid for her to fly home for a weekish roughly every two months. Big pharma.

My brother got transferred to Richmond. He’s a java programmer and his project got moved to that office and they don’t like telecommuting. They paid him 70 grand in relocation fees and he had to stay in the job two years.

My friend was with Wal Mart for 20 years until they told him he had to move to Chicago from Ohio, or else. He left Wal Mart.

Another friend of mine got back to Cincinnati last year from like 5-10 years in the UK. She’s in aviation (not flying, engineering).

A guy I used to work for has a son-in-law who works for Exxon Mobil and he gets relocated every few years.

I think it depends on what you mean- if you mean moving people from one city to another just because, I don’t think that’s common anymore ( if it ever was). But it is fairly common for someone to have to move to get a promotion either because there’s a policy to do so to avoid having the employee or simply because the opening is in a different location. Similarly, people still get transferred to Location B because Location A is shutting down, or because operational needs have changed and Location A is now overstaffed and Location B is understaffed.

This is exactly true in my experience.

My brother does auditing for a big company. At various times he’s been asked to relocated for a year or three. Once to Germany, twice to Brazil, and once to China. There were financial perks, but my brother was happy for the experience.

While in Brazil he was allowed to keep his frequent flier miles. He came home many weekends for a single dinner with family just to get the miles.

Not only executives, lots of “flying engineers” around, where the expression refers to moving house and not to spending a lot of time in airports. It isn’t unusual for engineers who direct construction projects or for star process engineers to bounce from country to country, because they need to go where the project is. Sometimes the whole lifestyle involves moving more or less periodically, sometimes it is an assignment for an individual project. One example of each:

My Swedish client offers among other things services designing machines which would use their own products (catalysts for a specific family of reactions), then directing the construction of the facility: those engineers don’t spend a lot of time in Sweden.
The American engineer who came to a small factory in Spain to improve a process that only we did in the whole company brought her family along; the husband got insta-adopted by the spouses and mothers of anybody in the factory who had toddlers of similar age to theirs.

My Wife works on corporate relocations for a major realtor, so it is still a thing.

This was back some 15 years ago: I got moved from a job as a Lab Technician, Fourth Shift, in Spain, to Internal Consultant in Philadelphia for the duration of a project. When the project ended I had tentative offers for Chicago and Houston, but got sent back to Spain (the 3 other Europeans also got sent back to their own countries) because the immigration lawyer was a thief, a conman and a jerk :stuck_out_tongue: and HR was too terrified of him to read what INS themselves said re. changing jobs within the company with the kind of Visas we had.

Five years ago, I had a client in Spain working with one of their Mexican-in-Mexico employees. Her brother had recently left the company: he used to work for them in Mexico, had been moved to Central (Spain) and been “fished” by a local woman; when the company tried to move him again, he instead left, because the one who no way was going to move was his wife. Saying that her family was “tight knit” counts as an euphemism: I’m not going to try and explain the cultural details, but if you so much as look funny at any of her clanmembers you suddenly discover why that family is called “a clan” and how many people that includes.

Our company sends people to the Hong Kong office so that someone with experience of one area of the big office can get experience in multiple areas of a smaller office on the way up the executive ladder.

I know someone who worked at Huawei, the huge Chinese telecom company. They regularly rotate managers from China through various offices around the world. Part of that is to get experience of what’s happening in the field, but also (a) so that no one is stuck in an undesirable posting (e.g. Africa) for too long and (b) so that no individual manager can get too cozy with local government officials.

For a long time, IBM was understood to mean “I’ve Been Moved”. That is no longer the case.

I worked for one of the Big 8 (I think it was down to Big 5 at that point) firms and it was vanishingly rare for them to fund someone’s move. You could request a move to another city - but it was pretty much up to you to find a slot in that other city and the company wouldn’t pay for it at all; my brother moved from Pennsylvania to Chicago with one of those firms - at his own request - and managed, just barely, to get them to fund a small portion of his cost.

About 16 years ago, a project I was on had a significant presence in a city 130 miles away. I was askde if I’d consider moving. As I had young kids and a spouse (still have the spouse! the kids are older) it was a no-go - but you’d better believe I’d have negotiated a fairly sweet relocation deal. Even without a salary change, my income would have gone lots further there. My husband was recently asked, (semi-jokingly) if he’d consider moving to Ohio, though he got the feeling that they wouldn’t have funded the move.

When I worked in big box retail early in my career one had to, as a condition of going on the management track, consent to move whenever and where ever the company decided. You could turn down 1 move request in your career. On average, managers and assistant managers were moved every 2 years - maybe across town, maybe across the country - until retirement or a promotion to corporate headquarters. Personally, I met he girl who would become my wife and said “Nope, no moves for me” and switched careers.

AFAIK, retail still does that, albeit perhaps not so frequently. Moves are costly. Whether and how often one is subject to transfer really depends on the industry and specific job classification therein.

It’s fairly common in my company for many different reasons.

Someone offered a promotion may have to move, and the company will pay that expense. For example, maybe the paint manager in Oakville will be offered the plant manager position in Kansas City, or the Louisville body manager will be offered a chief position in Dearborn. Or maybe we move a CEO from Washington to Ann Arbor.

My company paid for my relocation to China and back, with the objective of developing the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets.

And as Nava said, we have travelling engineers for product launches. I used to do this. I’ve lived five years in Mexico (over three occasions), a year in Canada, and multiple years in different parts of the United States. In this case, we usually have the choice between relocation or business traveler. For the former, the company pays to relocate you, and for the latter, you only take whatever can fit in your baggage allowance (but you get to fly home every couple of weeks).