If you really had to put a date to when the present day relocation industry originated, you could say the Dutch East India Trading Company which was founded in 1602 was the first of its kind. When European nations first discovered the treasure trove that was the Indian subcontinent and established its colonies and trade relations with India, modern day relocation came into being.
Interlinked with commerce and economics, the relocation industry proved vital in developing both these aspects. Safe trade was a necessity to ensure economic development of the British, Dutch, and other countries that set up colonies here in India.
Originally, relocation remained an in-house function – with trading companies having their own infrastructure in the form of ships, etc. for transporting goods across borders. However, by the 1950’s, as international trade grew significantly, it became easier to outsource it to specialized relocation companies for transporting. Even though such companies were initially founded to provide destination services, they also helped provide assistance to assignees in settling into their new locations.
During the early 1960s, big companies like Merrill Lynch, Transamerica, Executrans, Homequity, etc. also introduced home purchase assistance to its customers.
The year 1964 saw the establishment of the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council. Over time, it became a more convenient and accepted practice to outsource relocation services to specialized companies.
The industry grew further encouraged by introduction of legislative rulings like the Revenue Ruling Act of 1982 and the Tax Reform Act of 1986.
As more organizations went global and established their presence across multiple countries, the trend of relocating employees across the various offices to “cross-pollinate” or spread the business culture across the regions. In addition, to grow professionally too, it became important for employees to get assigned to international offices for enhancing their leadership and other skills.
As globalization continues to grow, the need for relocating employees only continues to grow. In the current global economic scenario, with more organizations of the West looking to start or develop their operations in the emerging markets, more expat employees are taking up offers to relocate to international offices.
The present day relocation companies provide a plethora of services to assist such employees, including handling all the paperwork, finding accommodation, finding schools and educational institutions for the employees’ children, helping them learn the language, etc. Moving is an extremely stressful affair, and requires considerable mental preparation to change from familiar surroundings and start life almost from scratch in a new, unfamiliar location. There are many aspects to be considered when planning a move, and given the complex nature of the transition, it makes best sense to rely on the experts to help plan the move.
In such a scenario, relocation companies definitely look like they are here to stay and their scope of operations only seems to continue growing.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net