The impact of the Coronavirus on the Relocation sector

With Covid-19 (the catchy new name for the Coronavirus) now spreading out from its original source in China, it’s clear that Coronavirus has started to have some effect within the Relocation industry.

The full effects are unclear at present, without knowing the full spread of the Coronavirus, its impact could range from a small number of assignments being postponed to entire countries being off-limits for a period due to government-imposed travel restrictions.

As of the 26th February 2020, there are 81,109 confirmed cases in 37 Countries according to the WHO, but this is likely a very conservative figure due to the difficulty of securing precise numbers.

Intercompany Transfers meets the Kraken

Many companies have already instigated travel bans on employees planning business trips to affected countries. So, this could also be influencing intercompany transfers to those areas and others that will no doubt surface as the Coronavirus spreads its tentacles.

It may not just be current employees that are going to be affected. Potential employees are also going to face potential disruption. For instance, a new hire who is accepting a role that requires them to relocate to a new country may well think twice if that country is being heavily affected by the Coronavirus and could seek to find an alternative role. This is something that is outside of the employer’s control and the likelihood is, that delaying the candidate’s start date is unlikely to help as the time scale is so open-ended.

A current employee who is being internally transferred may have the same concerns, but then the employer can mitigate this by delaying the transfer until things have improved. These situations can have consequences not only for employers but for the Relocation Management Companies (RMCs) that support them.

It’s a very current affair

There are no hard and fast facts available about where the Coronavirus will go next and the timescale of the spread. So RMC’s will be watching the Coronavirus’ movement closely as well as the travel advisories that global governments continue to issue, to be in the best position to advise their own clients.

Most international businesses have already seen a major impact on their China-related enterprises, so they will be keeping a very wary eye on where the next major outbreak will happen… Currently, it seems that parts of Italy are out of bounds.

This global incident requires a collaborative response from all parties, with Relocation specialists poised to collect and distribute the most up to date information available. With the Coronavirus creating an unpredictable business environment, calculating its impact on the Relocation sector at this stage is challenging. What we can say for certain is that there has been and will continue to be an impact, the ongoing scale of which remains to be seen. Watch this space!

Written by Julian Maynard – Recruitment Consultant at Alchemy Global Talent

For an assessment on how the Covid-19 virus is impacting the global shipping and supply chain sectors follow this link: