Why Your Community Needs the Connect Model..


The thinking has shifted from “What can we do to get them here?” to include “What we can do to get them and keep them here?” This means embracing a multidimensional recruitment and retention template that provides comprehensive dual-career support.  By coordinating face-to-face professional networking for spouse/partners of new hires, the newcomer can gain critical access to decision makers in their profession who would know of local movement within the region as well as gain access to quality talent.

 Relocation often forces new hires to disconnect from personal, professional and familial networks—critical connections that help them thrive and define themselves and their place in the world. “Research shows that the need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water and shelter,” writes Matthew Lieberman, UCLA psychology professor and director of the university’s Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, in his book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect. “Social and physical pain are more similar than we imagine. We don’t expect someone with a broken leg to ‘just get over it.’ Yet when it comes to the pain of social loss, this is a common—and mistaken—response.”2 Lieberman points to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to prove that the human brain reacts to social pain/pleasure and physical pain/pleasure similarly. It is no wonder, then, that the sudden loss of social and professional networks for recently relocated new hires and their families can lead to serious recruitment and retention challenges for employers.

Tech Valley Connect has built a consortium of employers, crossing industry sectors who commit to informational interviews with spouse/partners of new hires within the consortium.  These high level discussions give employers access to a highly qualified talent pool without the structure of a formal interview.  For job seeking newcomers to the area, the meetings allow for relationship building with leadership in their disciplines and face to face time to discuss the context of their C.V.s.

Employers join the Tech Valley Connect consortium on an annual basis.  Each employer member works with the program in two ways; By referring newly relocating hires for dual career support and community integration and second, by coordinating informational interviews for spouse/partners of new hires within the consortium with internal management relevant to their field.


The Need for Support

A 2011 study by the Center for American Progress projected that it costs employers minimally 213% of the employee’s annual salary to replace a highly educated executive (i.e. estimated $213,000 to replace a $100,000 salaried CEO).

In the United States alone in 2013, 41% of companies saw an increase in relocation volume over the previous year, with mid-size and large firms experiencing the highest increases.

Another 37 percent saw international relocation volumes increase. Industry analysts expect that employers can expect to see similar trends in 2014.

Those professional candidates who choose not to relocate often do so for reasons that have little to do with money. In fact, family ties/ issues topped the chart as the main reason employees declined corporate relocation in 2013, with spouse/partner employment taking second place.

Two thirds of firms surveyed by Atlas in 2016 indicated that spouse/partner employment “almost always” or “frequently” affects an employee’s relocation. This has been a ‘known’ obstacle for hiring leaders in the academic sector for decades.

Lastly, in 2016 this study cited 62% of employers surveyed were assisting the spouse of a new hire with finding a job.   Up 21% from 2013.

In a 2011 interview with National Public Radio, Matt Youngquist, a nationally recognized expert in the field of professional employment counseling, said 70-80 percent of available jobs are not published. Despite this, he says, job seekers spend the majority of their time “surfing the net versus getting out there, talking to employers, taking some chances [and] realizing that the vast majority of (professional) hiring is friends and acquaintances hiring other trusted friends and acquaintances.”12

 Big business agrees. Larry Nash, director of experienced and executive recruiting at Ernst & Young, said that referrals put candidates “in the express lane” and that applicants from corporate websites and Internet job boards often get lost in the shuffle.

In 2013, The New York Times cited a study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, revealing that referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview as non-referred applicants, and that “for those who make it to the interview stage, referred candidates had a 40% better chance of being hired than other applicants.” Bringing accompanying partners into the decision-making process for recruitment is now taken very seriously on both sides of the table. For employers, it’s about retention; for the dual-career couple, it’s about finances and keeping their family unit intact and happy.


2016 Atlas Corporate Relocation Survey