Bigger Companies Wield Advantages in the Talent Pipeline; But Opportunities Abound
for Smaller Companies, Too
Larger companies hold a considerable edge over smaller companies in recruiting,
relocating and onboarding new employees, according to the 2012
Allied Workforce Mobility Survey. Large companies do more of all these
activities and, in general, put more money, structure and organizational support
According to HR professionals, large companies are:
- More bullish about recruiting in 2012
- More likely to rate their recruiting, relocation and onboarding programs as “highly
- More likely to search nationally or internationally when recruiting
- More likely to have a formal program and budget for onboarding
- More likely to offer a broad array of recruiting and relocation incentives to job
Still, small companies have advantages, too, according to the survey results. In
several respects they are equal to or competitive with larger firms.
- A significant portion of small companies are “highly successful” at recruiting and
relocation, suggesting that the playing field can be leveled.
- Perceptions aside, small and large companies perform about the same in terms of
- Small firms retain a slightly higher percentage of new employees.
- In certain areas (e.g., flexible work arrangements, work environment), small companies
are competitive with large companies.
This survey analysis based on company size suggests opportunities for HR professionals
in all situations. For example, a case can be made for casting the net wider when
recruiting at small companies. Recruiting costs per employee are not significantly
greater at midsize and large companies, which recruit from larger geographical areas.
Or, larger firms would do well to tout the value of their relocation packages since
they have an advantage in this area.
Five hundred HR professionals in the U.S. took part in the survey, sharing their
perspectives on how their organizations recruit, relocate, onboard and retain talent.
Previous results were released April 30 and May 21. The present release is based
on a segmentation of survey results from small companies (less than 200 full-time
employees), midsize companies (200 to 2,499 employees), large companies (2,500 to
10,000 employees) and mega-sized companies (more than 10,000 employees) (Figure 1).
Larger Companies View the Mobility Environment Differently Than Smaller Companies
HR professionals at large companies are more likely to view the U.S. workforce as
mobile (willing to relocate)(Figure 2).
Larger companies also are more likely to report that the mobility environment (external
factors like the economy, demographics, culture) has impacted their recruitment
or retention efforts — negatively or positively. Larger companies recruit more,
relocate more and cast the net wider when searching for candidates. As a result,
they may be more likely to experience the impact of a sluggish economy or other
external factors (Figures 3 and 4).
HR professionals at large and small firms generally agree on the factors driving
or restricting a candidate’s willingness to relocate. But there are important differences
- Driving relocations: HR professionals at larger companies
are more likely to cite “career advancement” as a driver for relocation, while those
at smaller firms are more likely to cite “better benefits” and “desire to work for/support
- Restricting relocations: HR professionals at smaller
companies are more likely to say that “selling a home/mortgage” is a restriction
Larger Companies Are More Likely to Rate Their Programs as “Highly Successful”
HR professionals at larger companies are more likely to rate the success of their
recruitment, relocation, and onboarding programs as “highly successful” (Figure 5):
- Recruitment: Forty-six percent of HR professionals at
mega companies rate their recruitment programs as “highly successful” versus 28
percent of HR professionals at small companies.
- Relocation: Thirty-three percent of HR professionals
at mega companies rate their relocation programs as “highly successful” versus 9
percent of HR professionals at small companies.
- Onboarding: Thirty-six percent of HR professionals at
mega companies rate their onboarding programs as “highly successful” versus 23 percent
of HR professionals at small companies.
Further, larger companies are far more likely to have formal programs dedicated
to at least one of these areas (recruitment, relocation or onboarding) (Table 2).
But it’s not a rule that smaller companies are less competitive. For those that
apply best practices and dedicate resources, the returns are significant. Smaller
firms can level the playing field if they truly aspire to. Approximately 25 percent
of HR professionals at small companies rate their recruitment and onboarding programs
as “highly successful”, and 10 percent rate their relocation program as “highly
Larger Companies More Bullish about Recruiting in 2012, Cast the Net Wider When
Larger firms are more bullish about recruiting and relocating. One-third of HR professionals
at mega-sized or large companies say recruitment efforts will be “extensive” this
year, while only 20 percent and 9 percent of midsize and small companies, respectively,
say recruiting will be extensive (Figure 6).
In searching for job candidates, larger companies also are more likely to look beyond
their U.S. or regional location. Four of five mega companies will recruit from international
(25 percent) or national (57 percent) geographic areas (Figure
7). By comparison:
- Six percent of small companies look internationally and 38 percent recruit across
- Ten percent of midsize companies look internationally and 46 percent recruit across
Does casting the net wider correlate with more spending for larger companies? Surprisingly
not. Average costs per hire (not including relocation costs) are as follows:
- Small companies – $12,423
- Midsize companies – $7,311
- Large companies – $7,518
- Mega companies – $15,359
Perceived Recruiting Strengths Vary Based on Size
Large and small companies rate their recruiting strengths differently. Recruiting
strengths at larger companies generally reflect access to deeper pockets and more
resources. For example, HR professionals at larger companies are more likely to
rate retirement benefits, career advancement opportunities and relocation packages
(when applicable) as strengths (Table 3).
But HR professionals at midsize and small companies are on equal footing in many
other areas. For example, HR professionals at midsize and small companies are just
as likely to rate compensation, flexible working arrangements, location of job/company
and the quality of executives as strengths.
Recruiting Outcomes Slightly Better at Small Firms
While HR professionals at larger companies are more likely to rate their recruitment
programs as successful, they do not actually outperform smaller
firms, according to survey data (Table 4).
The rate of success in securing recruits is 72 percent at small firms, as compared
to 66 percent at mega-sized companies. Similarly, the average lead time to fill
a position is shorter at small companies.
Still, larger firms have exponentially more positions to fill: an average of 5,523
at mega-sized companies, 416 at large companies, 101 at midsize companies, and just
9 at small companies.
Larger Companies Offer Better Relocation Packages
Larger companies are more likely to require relocation for certain positions (Figure 8). Also, HR professionals at larger
companies are more likely to report that the quality of relocation packages can
affect whether a candidate accepts an offer. For example, only 10 percent of HR
professionals at mega-sized companies say the relocation package is “not important,”
as compared to 39 percent of HR professionals at small companies (Figure 9).
Larger companies relocate more and offer better packages. Only 3 percent of mega-sized
companies and 5 percent of large companies do not have
a formal relocation program, as compared to 42 percent of midsize companies and
67 percent of small companies.
Further, only 4 percent of mega-sized companies and 11 percent of large companies
have none of the incentives listed in the 2012 Allied
Workforce Mobility Survey (Figure 10, Table 5), as compared to 21 percent of
midsize and 43 percent of small companies.
The average cost of relocation packages is comparable among small, midsize and large
companies. However, relocation packages are nearly three times larger at mega-sized
firms. Average relocation costs:
- Small companies – $12,073
- Midsize companies – $9,606
- Large companies – $14,007
- Mega companies – $41,052
Onboarding Gets More Attention at Larger Companies
Larger companies put more behind their onboarding programs. They are more likely
- Place ownership of the program in the human resources department, as opposed to
non-HR departments (Figure 11)
- Establish a specific budget for onboarding (Figure
- Spend a lot more on onboarding per year* (Figure
As a result, HR professionals at larger companies are more likely to rate their
onboarding programs as “highly successful.”
Also, larger companies are more likely to employ a range of onboarding best practices
(Table 6). For example:
- Seventy-eight percent of mega-sized companies have a formal orientation program,
as compared to 43 percent of small companies
- Forty-nine percent of mega-sized companies involve management in onboarding programs,
as compared to 26 percent of small companies
* However, larger companies spend less per employee because program startup costs
are spread over a greater number of new employees.
But Smaller Companies (Slightly) Outperform Larger Competitors in Employee Retention
All companies want to retain new hires and get them to full productivity quickly.
Interestingly, smaller companies are as good as larger companies or better at the
following (Table 7):
- Retaining new hires through the one-year anniversary
- Reaching productivity goals with new employees
- Turning new hires into corporate influencers/leaders
Employees Leave Large and Small Companies for Mostly the Same Reasons, with Some
The reasons that employees are “very likely” to leave companies prior to their one-year
anniversary are comparable across all sizes of companies. However, there are some
distinctions. Job performance and compensation are more likely to cause employees
to leave smaller companies, while working conditions/arrangements are more likely
to cause employees to leave larger companies (Table
- Small companies – 20 percent of HR professionals say job performance is a “very
likely” reason for an employee to leave
- Midsize companies – 24 percent
- Large companies – 16 percent
- Mega companies – 13 percent
- Small companies – 17 percent of HR professionals say compensation is a “very likely”
reason for an employee to leave
- Midsize companies – 22 percent
- Large companies – 12 percent
- Mega companies – 9 percent
- Small companies – 7 percent of HR professionals say working conditions are a “very
likely” reason for an employee to leave
- Midsize companies – 13 percent
- Large companies – 13 percent
- Mega companies – 15 percent
Larger Companies More Likely to Have Roles That Require Relocation
Larger companies are more likely than smaller companies to have roles that require
a willingness to relocate. More than half of small companies (57 percent) have no roles that require internal mobility, as compared to
just 22 percent of mega-sized companies (Table
9). For all companies, corporate VP/director roles are most likely to require
- Seventy percent of HR professionals at mega-sized companies say it’s “important”
or “extremely important” that current executives be willing to relocate
- Fifty-one percent of HR professionals at large companies say this.
- Twenty-seven percent of HR professionals at midsize companies say this.
- Twenty-two percent of HR professionals at small companies say this.
Most HR professionals at larger companies were more likely to rate their companies
as “successful” or “extremely successful” at internal mobility (relocating existing
employees) (Figure 14). Also, larger companies
were more likely to track the willingness of current executives to relocate (Figure 15).