Dispersed workforces here to stay as Aussies plan to relocate across the country

23 January, 2023

  • Nearly half of workers are considering whether to relocate within Australia
  • Those who work from home are three times more likely to want to move
  • Over half (54%) of 18-24 year olds and nearly two thirds (65%) of 25-34 year olds would consider quitting if forced to go back to the office full-time
  • “Flexible working is here to stay. Businesses must embrace the dispersed workforce”

AUSTRALIA, 23 JANUARY 2023 - Soaring living costs, inaccessible housing markets and years of remote working have driven a major shift in people's interest in relocating, according to research by leading payroll and HR services company ADP.

The People at Work: A Global Workforce View survey found that nearly half (45%) of Australian workers  either want to relocate within Australia, or are already in the process of doing so. Additionally, 40% of respondents were planning or in the process of moving overseas.

Exposure to working from home was an important influence on whether people wanted to relocate, with those who worked from home (58%) being almost three times more likely than those who were not (20%) to want a sea or tree change.

“The last few years have given some employees the confidence that remote work is viable for them. This has opened up a plethora of opportunities to relocate and pursue a better quality of life, affordable housing, and new job opportunities,” said Kylie Baullo, Managing Director ANZ at ADP.

“The pandemic changed workers’ expectations and we are seeing an increased need for employers to provide a better work-life balance to retain and attract top talent,” adds Mrs Baullo. 

The desire to relocate was strongest for 18-24 year olds, with well over half (60%) looking for a change in scenery. Meanwhile only half as many (28%) of 45-54 year olds felt the same. Additionally, men (55%) were more likely to be motivated to move than women (36%).

“This dispersed workforce creates a win-win for employees and employers,” adds Mrs Baullo. “The high cost of living in major cities has made rural and regional areas more appealing, especially to younger workers.”

“Employers can access a greater talent pool in opening up new geographies to source grass-roots talent from,” says Mrs Baullo.

The research also found that more than half (54%) of 18-24 year olds and nearly two thirds (65%) of 25-34 year olds would consider looking for another job if their employer insisted on a full-time return to the workplace, compared to 46% of the 45-54 age bracket and only 27% of the 55 and over demographic, with a strong correlation between the desire to relocate and the demand for flexible working models amongst the younger age bracket.

However, with office occupancy now at its highest level since the pandemic began in Australia, potentially driven by less-accommodating work-from-home policies, ADP suggests employers need to be best prepared for a hybrid workplace.

“With flexible working here to stay, employers should instead look to embrace and plan for a dispersed workforce,” says Mrs Baullo. “Businesses should look to offer remote work options. With the potential for multiple employees moving at any given time, and the variety of payment conditions that can occur in different locations – both domestically and overseas, working with a payroll expert to manage smooth transitions is important. " concludes Mrs Baullo.

For more information on ADP’s payroll and HR software solutions, go to au.adp.com.


Note to editors

Kylie Baullo, Managing Director ANZ at ADP, is available for interview on request.

About the research

People at Work 2022: A Global Workforce View explores employees’ attitudes towards the current world of work and what they expect and hope for from the workplace of the future.

ADP Research Institute® surveyed 32,924 workers in 17 countries around the world between 1 November and 24 November 2021. This included

  • 15,683 in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the UK)
  •  3,829 in North America (USA and Canada)
  • 5,768 in Latin America (Argentina, Brazil and Chile)
  • 7,644 in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India and Singapore)

Respondents were asked to self-classify whether they were an essential worker (including the definitions of key worker or critical worker) or a non-essential worker. These definitions vary by location, organisation and government guidance. Generally, it includes those whose work is vital to the ongoing functioning of society and everyday life, such as healthcare or logistics workers, police, government officials, journalists and supermarket staff. In some countries those in the financial services sector are also included.

The survey was conducted online in the local language. Overall results were weighted to represent the size of the working population for each country. Weightings are based on labour force data from the World Bank, which is derived using data from the ILOSTAT database, the central statistics database of the International Labour Organization (ILO), as of 8 February 2022.


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