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Despite the fact that housing prices are finally rising, recruiters are still having trouble filling positions that require relocation.

Relocation always has the potential of being a hard sell. After all, you are trying to convince someone to uproot themselves and often their entire family to take a chance not only on a new job but a whole new geographic area. But “relocation reluctance” has reached a fever pitch since the recession decimated home values across the country. Candidates seeking work are being tied down by houses they can’t sell or can’t get enough money out of. On top of that, many companies are no longer offering relocation packages.

Relocation reluctance has sunk its fair share of direct placements, but many recruiters are finding a viable work-around in contract staffing.

Cindy Stephens, President and CEO of Stephens International Recruiting, is one such recruiter. Her firm concentrates on the placement of Biomedical Equipment Technicians (BMETs). She said the struggling housing market has been devastating for unemployed technicians. Contract staffing has served as a lifeline for those families.

“There are a lot of candidates out there looking for jobs, and it seems like they are more interested in contract staffing,” Stephens said. “They are having a hard time finding jobs near home but can’t leave permanently due to family and mortgages. They want to work temporary so they don’t have to be away from their families for too long.”

Adam Greenberg, Managing Director of EMR Staffing Partners, and thinks the relocation issue is one of the top reasons.

“I’m finding a much smaller percentage of people who will relocate on a permanent basis because they don’t have the mobility to pick up and sell their houses,” he said. “Really, the only feasible thing is to make more money as a consultant and temporarily relocate.”

Gilly Hitchock, owner of FPC Bangor, works the pulp and paper industry. Contract staffing has helped her fill difficult positions with suppliers in the industry.

“Suppliers are beholden to contracts of their own,” Hitchcock said. “They can win contracts that are in large, remote locations. It’s hard to find someone to go to those locations. Someone may be able to travel for a few days but can’t sell their house or they don’t want to. This is a way to get around having to relocate someone. Trying to move families and sell homes is very hard in this economy. Contract staffing lets them get around that.”

Be sure to visit our blog tomorrow for Part 2 of this post where we will discuss how contract-to-direct can help candidates and clients get over relocation reluctance.

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