Money still talks with location-based rewards. But with greater emphasis on work-life balance, the quality of life agenda now has a major influence on what employers offer staff who are relocating.
Softer benefits in the form of support - and the cost need not be prohibitive - can make or break an employee's decision to move as much as guaranteed home sale schemes and mortgage differentials.
"We want to make sure employees feel good about soft benefits. Hard cash might have done it a few years ago, but it's about more than that now," explains Lis Gray, personnel services manager at Waitrose. She believes the current emphasis on education and children is "the only thing that's substantially changed" in relation to relocation perks in recent years.
In-depth neighbourhood and school searches, careers counselling for partners, shortlisting a selection of possible new homes - these high-quality support services are powerful incentives, says Simon Price, client services director at Sterling Relocation.
"The biggest challenge for any family is finding the right school. Getting a place for your child in a good state school is actually more difficult than getting a place in an independent one. Offer a reconnaissance visit, an orientation trip and, as part of or on top of that, a formal school search," he advises. "A school search should be offered to everyone as a prerequisite to any move."
Help with these softer issues need only amount to "a few pennies in the corporate structure", says Stuart Mitchell, senior partner at Business Moves Advisory Centre.
But that's not to say big money rewards don't have their place. Indeed, they're still critical to the mix. London weighting on salaries, for example, is still popular, according to Ben Frost, reward consultant at the Hay Group. "At a certain level - middle managers earning above £45,000 - you tend not to see it," he says.
"London weighting is not being explicitly stated as it once was, but simply reflected in salaries. The fact someone is expected to work in London is equivalent to about £3,000 [on top of any salary]," he adds.
And London isn't the only region commanding pay rewards. There are other geographical hotspots in which employers in particular sectors are having to offer premiums to get the right people in post - for example, IT and telecommunications organisations based along the M4 corridor from Heathrow t