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Jim Retzer

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Can Olympic Athletes Change The Country They Represent?

Posted by Jim Retzer on Fri, Feb 09, 2018

The Olympics are a global showcase of the world’s best athletes, and in recent years the Games have steadily become more inclusionary in service of that ideal. It has become increasingly common, for example, for Olympians to hold citizenship in and represent countries other than the ones they were born in. There are any number of reasons athletes adopt new homelands, but the overall effect is that more athletes and nations get to realize their Olympic dreams, while the makeup of the Games better reflects the increasingly globalized world we live in.

As globally-focused mobility experts, we at CapRelo applaud this trend, and are examining how it will be represented at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. With that in mind, we decided to do a little research of our own into the upcoming Winter Games to see who these athletes are, where they come from, where they’re relocating to, and much more. Check out our findings below!

There are nearly 3,000 athletes set to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, and we did our best to find out where each and every one of them was born. We started with the official rosters announced by the nearly 90 participating Olympic Committees that were available by the start of February.

Where possible, CapRelo used official Olympic Committee websites to verify birthplaces, and combined that data with official websites of various sports’ governing bodies, news outlets, and other credible sources to fill in the gaps. These statistics are based on the rosters announced the day of the official cutoff date, January 29.


One of the things that jumped out at us was the sheer number of American-born athletes competing under different flags: thirty-seven in all, far outpacing the second and third place finishers in Canada and Russia. That these three countries led in this category isn’t terribly surprising, however, as they all feature large populations and have climates and geography that is perfect for producing Winter Olympians. The competition to make the official Olympic squads for these countries is incredibly tough, making it very appealing for some athletes to look elsewhere to reach the biggest stage in their respective sports.


One of the biggest beneficiaries of non-native athletes is unquestionably the South Korean hosts. In an effort to give their home fans more athletes to root for and increase their chances at winning some coveted medals, South Korea naturalized 18 athletes in the run-up to 2018, including some with previous Olympic experience for their nations of origin. These naturalized Koreans will be most prominent when it comes to the South Korean men’s ice hockey team, which we’ll give some more in-depth coverage to later.


Speaking of America losing athletes and South Korea gaining them, four of those 18 naturalized athletes for the hosts hail from the USA, two ice dancers and one player each for the Korean men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. The only nation with more American-born athletes competing (excluding the USA, naturally) is the USA’s neighbors to the north, as Canada counts six such athletes among their Olympic contingent.


One of the biggest surprises we found was when we really dug into the sports that featured the most non-native competitors. We assumed figure skating would feature the most non-native athletes competing in Pyeongchang, and while that sport did come in strong with 26 athletes, alpine skiing was the big winner in this category, featuring 32 competitors!


Olympic ice hockey teams are allowed to have rosters consisting of 22 skaters and 3 goalies, for a total of 25 athletes each. As the host country, South Korea was granted an automatic place in the hockey competitions, something they have known about since they were announced as the winning bid by the IOC in July 2011. With an eye towards improving their chances in one of the most popular of all Winter Olympic sports, the South Koreans turned to North America to bolster their ice hockey roster. As a result, 7 of their 25 players hail from Canada or the USA, over 25% of their total roster! These North Americans have spent the past several years playing professionally in Korea while representing the South Korean national team, and they will be crucial to the host nation’s competitiveness on the rink.


Lest anyone get the idea that all athletes who switch nationalities for the Olympics only do so because they aren’t skilled enough to make the teams from their birth countries, it is important to note that a number of athletes competing in 2018 will be doing so having already taken home past Olympic medals. This includes more than a few gold medalists. Russian-born Slovakian Anastasiya Kuzmina is one of the world’s best biathletes, counting 2 golds and a silver medal to her name already. USA native Vic Wild will be defending both gold medals he won for Russia in 2014. And Ukrainian-born Belarusian Anton Kushnir scored higher than any athlete in history to win the gold in men’s aerial skiing four years ago.         


For some countries there would be no Olympic representation were it not for non-native born athletes. A dozen different nations are represented in Pyeongchang exclusively by competitors born elsewhere, including a historic contingent of Nigerian women who will be the first ever Olympic bobsled team from Africa!


The Nigerian women are historic for a number of reasons, as they are also the first ever Winter Olympians from the African nation, making them one of three different Olympic contingents composed entirely of foreign-born athletes making their nation’s Olympic debuts. Joining in that distinction are Kosovo and Eritrea. CapRelo also found it interesting that the makeup of non-foreign athletes in South Korea is set to be extremely diverse, as even though the average age of competitors is 26.6 years old, the overall pool of foreign-born athletes runs the gamut of ages from 16 all the way to 43.

When you tune in to the Winter Games this month, keep your eyes and ears out for the stories of these incredible athletes and the lengths they’ve gone to reach their Olympic goals. Consider just how impressively globalized our world has become, even when it comes to sports. We know we sure will! 


Mobility and the 2018 U.S. Tax Reform Bill

Posted by Jim Retzer on Fri, Jan 12, 2018

CapRelo has been closely following the changes to the U.S. tax laws and advising clients on the best ways to adjust policies. The IRS is currently reviewing the changes to determine how to implement them, and we will update this information when the IRS finalizes and confirms their implementation plans.

The new U.S. tax bill passed through Congress and has been signed into law by the President. Below are some of the key impacts on mobility:

  • All van line expenses (HHG) and final move expenses will now be taxable.
    • This means there is no more 50 mile test, 39 week test or 1 year rule.
  • Supplemental rate will change, but the IRS has yet to clarify the change, and other tax brackets will change as well.
    • Gross up calculations and withholding from payments may be impacted.
  • Elimination of itemized deduction and personal exemptions phase-outs.
    • Employees receiving lump sum payments as well as other paid relocation benefits may be impacted.
  • State/local income and property tax deductions will be capped at $10,000.
    • State/local amounts in excess of $10,000 will be considered taxable and subject to gross up.

We welcome the opportunity to consult with you about the tax changes and how you can adjust your global mobility program and benefits. Give us a call at 703-260-3323 or visit

*Although this written communication may address tax issues, it is not a covered opinion as described in Circular 230.  Therefore, to ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments), unless expressly stated otherwise, was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding tax-related penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any tax-related matter(s) addressed herein.

Topics: relocation taxes, corporate relocation company, mobility and taxes

Controlling Global Mobility Costs

Posted by Jim Retzer on Fri, Oct 13, 2017

Aditi-Sharma-Jan-2015-relocation-destination-shutterstock.jpgCompanies that provide global relocation assistance for their employees can expect the usual concerns from their employees, including selecting a mover, providing help with selling a home, support in the new location, and so on. With a global relocation, however, there are additional concerns like visas, international taxes, housing allowances and replicating previous living standards as closely as possible.

Learn more about managing global assignments in our free eBook.

Typical Global Mobility Services

In addition to the few listed above, other typical services during a global relocation include:

  • Assistance with managing relocation expenses
  • Household goods moving
  • Destination and arrival support services
  • Spousal support and counseling
  • Cross-cultural training and language classes
  • Locating quality schools for accompanying children
  • Ongoing support while becoming oriented to day-to-day life in the new location
  • Security for employees and their families
  • Personal transportation, including car purchasing, leases or company drivers

Strategies to Control Global Mobility Expenses

All these services are important, but they also increase the complexity and cost of global relocations. Here are several strategies you can employ to help control your global mobility expenses.

  1. Establish a fair ceiling for housing and related costs for employees, making sure to account for the area’s monetary and real estate market fluctuations.
  2. Consider the length of the assignment. The longer the employee will stay in the new location, the more the compensation rates should be in line with those of the host country. However, it is important to keep in mind that compensation should not fall significantly below what was previously earned; no employee wants to lose money as a result of a transfer.
  3. Get quotes from several relocation management companies, if you decide to use one. Determine what services are available and check customer ratings to assist your decision making.
  4. Carefully estimate the cash and other out-of-pocket expenses and resources needed for a transfer. Underestimating is one of the most common mistakes made – be sure to prepare a list of actual and anticipated expenses in advance.

A comprehensive global mobility policy will keep many factors within your control, but other factors affecting cost – the value of overseas real estate or global monetary fluctuations, for example – are not. If you allow for surprises when planning your budget, you will be better prepared to get your employees off to a good start in their new locations.

Global Assignment Guide


Topics: Corporate Relocation Costs, global mobility, global relocation

The Best Cities for Jobs 2017

Posted by Jim Retzer on Thu, Aug 17, 2017

Mapping It Out Across North America

Summer can often be a good time for hiring with so many new college graduates on the job hunt. According to a recent job report, the unemployment rate in the United States is 4.3 percent, the lowest it has been since March 2001. There are jobs out there and people willing to work. But if you’re looking for a job in a specific field or industry, where is the best location to look?

At CapRelo, we wanted to take a look at some of the job opportunity hotspots throughout North America. As a global relocation company, we are always interested in the business landscape as a whole, what the best cities are for jobs, and who is hiring the most. So, we decided to look at the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States as well as the top five areas in Canada and Mexico in order to find out what industry has the most open jobs. To do this, we used data from LinkedIn (taken the first week of June) to look at job listings for each metropolitan area and then put together a map of our findings.

Talent Hotspots in North America

Overall, we were surprised by some of the results while other results were to be expected. For instance, it was not shocking to see that New York was the best city for jobs in 2017, with the most total open jobs, but specifically the highest number of financial jobs. It also made sense that Los Angeles is hiring in large numbers for construction. The city has a number of development projects going on, including in the downtown area where the LA Times says there hasn’t been that much construction since the 1920s.

One of the most surprising results was that Washington, D.C. was hiring the most information technology jobs in the country, ahead of markets like San Francisco, Seattle, and Austin. San Francisco and Seattle were numbers two and three, respectively, but Washington had thousands more open positions. Boston was another interesting result. Healthcare is their top hiring industry with just over 23,000 open positions. Digging a little deeper, healthcare jobs have been steadily rising since June 2016, adding about 20,000 jobs. Internationally, IT jobs were most in demand. It was the top industry in all five metropolitan areas in Canada, as well as Mexico City.

The business landscape is always shifting and those shifts have a variety of impacts on different cities and different regions. Currently, plenty of companies are hiring and unemployment is a level not seen in years. At CapRelo, we wanted to see which industries had a large number of open jobs in some of the largest metropolitan areas in North America, and present our readers with a list of the best cities for jobs and opportunities. Some results were surprising while some were not. However, taking a step back and looking at the overall hiring landscape helps give perspective to both employers and job seekers.

Talent Management: Engagement Article

Topics: talent retention, employee engagement, talent management, talent acquisition

CapRelo Acquires Conduent's Relocation & Assignment Services Business

Posted by Jim Retzer on Thu, Jul 20, 2017

CapRelo is excited to announce the acquisition of Conduent's employee relocation and assignment services business from Conduent Human Resource Services, LLC. The purchase will expand CapRelo's services and increase our global footprint.

“This acquisition further positions CapRelo as a market leader in the mobility space and improves global market access,” said Barry Morris, President and CEO, CapRelo. “CapRelo is in the business of building strong and lasting relationships, and this investment illustrates our commitment to providing additional support and stability to our clients.”

CapRelo will also acquire Conduent’s mobility professionals to provide continuity of service delivery. This strengthens CapRelo’s subject matter expertise and thought-leadership. “We are fortunate to welcome some of the very best talent in our industry into the CapRelo family. Together, we will do great things for our clients and their employees to ensure smooth and memorable experiences.”

CapRelo is aggressively fueling a strategic growth initiative. This acquisition comes on the heels of our global roll-out. We will now serve clients from the United States, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom. CapRelo’s global headquarters remain just outside of Washington, D.C., in Sterling, VA.

Topics: corporate relocation company, employee relocation company

Nine Tips for Recruiting for the Healthcare Industry

Posted by Jim Retzer on Thu, Jul 07, 2016

medical-doctor-1.jpgAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. With an annual growth rate of 2.6 percent, the sector is expected to add five million jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Thanks to the consistent demand for talent in both public and private healthcare organizations, healthcare professionals are in a good position in the labor market. They don’t have to stay in jobs that don’t offer them everything they want in terms of compensation, work environment and career advancement. In fact, according to Glassdoor, three in five healthcare workers intended to look for a new position in 2014.

Learn about increasing employee retention in read our free article.

Clearly, for healthcare organizations that want to remain competitive, it’s crucial to have a good recruitment strategy that enables them to attract qualified, experienced and engaged talent. What follows are 9 tips for recruiting for the healthcare industry:

  1. Work with educational institutions. This allows you to establish a steady pipeline of competent talent. Offer opportunities for healthcare students to learn about your organization, for example by means of training or mentoring programs.
  2. Use online job sites. The majority of healthcare workers find their positions through online job sites. Aggregator job sites such as are especially useful, since they have a high number of job seekers.
  3. Include "passive" candidates. Top talent is often employed and not in the market for a new job… until the right one comes along. Use resources such as LinkedIn to approach highly skilled passive candidates who might be open to a new opportunity.
  4. Use your talent community to your advantage. Get to know community members. Then when a job opens up, you’ll already have a shortlist of possible candidates who are acquainted with your organization.
  5. Employ social media. Use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to your advantage by asking followers to repost your job openings.
  6. Highlight your employer brand. According to HealthcareSource Blog, 60 percent of workers cite an organization’s reputation of being a great employer as the single most important attribute when considering a new position. You can strengthen your employer brand by engaging current and former employees as company advocates on social media, in publications and in your talent community.
  7. Emphasize the company culture. One of the most important aspects of a successful hire is that the candidate is a good fit for the company culture. That’s why he or she has to have a clear picture of what it’s like to work for your organization, what its values are and what types of personalities do well in the company.
  8. Recruit for retention. To avoid costly turnover, look for candidates who are a good fit for the company and the position, who know they can advance within the organization and who are engaged with the organization’s objectives. Transparency and engagement contribute significantly to long-term retention.
  9. Provide competitive relocation packages. Especially for top-level talent in critical roles such as physicians, surgeons and high-level administrative staff, it’s essential to provide competitive relocation assistance. A global relocation managment company, like CapRelo, can coordinate every aspect of an employee’s move, reducing his or her stress surrounding the relocation. And this in turn assists in moving an employee back to productivity.

Keep the tips above in mind when recruiting healthcare talent so you can establish a strong workforce of qualified and engaged professionals.

Download our Free White Paper: Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Topics: attracting new hires, health care industry

How to Attract Competitive Talent in the Technology Industry

Posted by Jim Retzer on Mon, Jun 13, 2016


The shortage of talent in the tech industry is the topic of many articles and debates. According to Laurianne McLaughlin in her article titled “The IT Talent Shortage Debate,” a survey by InformationWeek showed that 73 percent of companies with fewer than 1,000 employees and 88 percent of organizations with more than 1,000 employees agreed there’s a talent crunch.

That’s why in recent years, governments around the globe have started investing more in stimuli for STEM education. But even with more graduates set to enter the tech industry, employers are still in fierce competition for the best candidates.

Learn more about increasing employee engagement in our free article.

What High Tech Talent Wants

The Kelly Services report “What Talent Wants – High Tech” provides some important insights into worker preferences in the high tech field. Here are some key findings:

  • Tech talents want clear career paths with their employers. By clarifying up front what tools and opportunities the company provides to support career advancement, an employer can make a position more attractive from the first moment of engagement with the candidate.
  • Professional development is important. Tech talent value training so much that many pay for it out of pocket. However, those who have the opportunity to discuss career development with their employers and make use of available resources—including, as John Hagel writing for Deloitte University Press points out, training opportunities and stretch assignments—are more satisfied than workers in other industries. Clearly, offering career development opportunities contributes significantly to attracting talent.
  • Tech talent values a cutting-edge work environment. Not surprisingly, tech talents want exposure to the latest and most revolutionary technology in the workplace. Employers who can offer this are in high demand.
  • A flexible and collaborative work environment is preferable. More than half of all tech talent value flexible work arrangements with opportunities for flex work and telecommuting. In addition, 62 percent want a highly collaborative workplace in which they have the opportunity to work with knowledgeable colleagues.
  • Tech talent wants competitive compensation. Salary, benefits and other remuneration are of the utmost importance to 86 percent of tech workers. Though the tech industry typically provides relatively high salaries, some companies are offering extremely high compensation in an attempt to retain top talent for longer. Daniel Terdiman describes in his CNET article “Silicon Valley talent wars: Engineers, come get your $250K salary” how decided to offer unusually high salaries and equity to top talent to prevent them from leaving for larger, more established competitors. And as a part of compensation, employers are advised to consider competitive and comprehensive relocation assistance that supports top tech talent when they need to move for their jobs. This shows talent that they’re valued and as a result promotes engagement and retention… plus, a successful move can greatly enhance employee satisfaction and productivity.

In addition to these points, tech talents expect perks. As Laura Lorek points out in her SiliconHills article “Perks Help to Attract and Retain High Tech Talent,” whether it’s catered lunches, a relaxation room, extensive benefits packages, gym memberships or pet-friendly workplaces, tech talent are attracted to employers that offer more than a conventional workplace.

The tech industry will be competing for top talent for the foreseeable future. But with recruitment and retention strategies that are geared to what tech talent wants, employers can greatly enhance their chances of attracting and retaining high quality tech workers.


Talent Management: Engagement Article


Topics: attracting new hires, talent management, tech industry

The Difficulty of Engaging and Retaining Employees Globally

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Mar 31, 2015


A 2015 financial article titled “Global organizations face looming crisis in engagement and retention of employees, according to Deloitte survey” states that 87 percent of business and HR leaders agree a lack of employee engagement is their primary concern.

What’s more, while the percentage of leaders who stated engagement was very important doubled from 26 to 50 percent from last year, an overwhelming 60 percent said they didn’t have specific processes to measure and enhance employee engagement.

Learn more about key ways to increase employee engagement in our free article.

These numbers are disturbing, especially when you consider that employees are most companies’ primary resource. A lack of engagement signals a lack of motivation and retention, resulting in reduced productivity, costly turnover and the inability to successfully and continuously expand business operations. ­

Moreover, according to Achieve Global’s report “Worldwide Trends in Employee Retention – How to keep your best employees in any market,” talent mobility is on the rise. In the United States alone, 23 percent of workers plan to leave their current jobs within the next 12 months. This level of attrition is concerning, especially since replacing employees is a lengthy, costly process.

And though many companies are streamlining their recruitment processes in order to minimize recruitment and return to productivity time, these types of measures can’t be effective without addressing the lack of employee engagement.

Obviously, for companies looking to enhance engagement and retention, it’s key to understand employees’ motivations for remaining satisfied with their jobs and their companies.

And this is where some interesting facts become clear. According to Towers Watson’s research, the factors that influence engagement include leadership’s sincere interest in employees’ wellbeing, a healthy work-life balance, flexible work arrangements and reasonable workloads. In other words, employees who feel supported by their companies’ leaders and whose jobs allow them a reasonable work-life balance are far more likely to be engaged than those who don’t.

Other factors that influence retention include a good understanding of a company’s goals and how a job contributes to those goals; a company’s public image; and empowerment (i.e. that management actively seeks out employees’ opinions in decisions that affect them).

When it comes to attracting, engaging and retaining top talent, employers around the world are advised to adapt their talent management strategies to better meet their employees’ expectations. Without taking this all-important step, employees are far more likely to look elsewhere when their job experience isn’t as good as expected.

Adjusting talent management strategies can involve a number of steps, including providing more transparency about the company, creating more flexible work arrangements and facilitating a more collaborative work environment.

Another aspect of enhancing engagement involves providing the best relocation experience possible for relocating employees. When talent feels supported by their companies during the demanding and often stressful time surrounding a relocation, they’re more likely to settle into their new positions smoothly. And that in turn greatly enhances the chances of them being engaged for the long term.

Of course, enhancing engagement and retention isn’t a process that happens overnight. By continuously staying abreast of talent trends and assessing why employees leave their companies, employers can gain the insights necessary to adapt their strategies to better engage and retain top talent.

Talent Management: Engagement Article


Topics: employee retention, talent retention, employee engagement, talent management

Advice for Expat Children Applying to Colleges

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Mar 03, 2015

College-Application-FormFor expat young people considering attending college (in the USA), many of the same conditions apply to expats and other foreign students as well as their stateside peers. One advantage expats may have is exposure to a broader range of cultures: many schools consider the expat’s foreign living experience a big ‘plus’ when considering applications, as they are often more mature and adaptable to change.

Learn more about global assignments with our free guide.

Finding a school

Overseas transferees and Foreign Service families will find abundant information online, including taking ‘virtual tours’ of prospective campuses, downloading academic information, applications and other considerations. Non-citizen students need to know that many of these post-secondasry school websites also have additional sections containing information about special admission requirements for non-citizens.

The application process

Most US high school students who plan to attend college apply to more than one school due to the variations in selectivity among colleges, with an average of three to five schools – as should ex pat students. Many schools have deadlines months in advance, so apply as soon as possible.

Although colleges will also vary in the type of forms needed, as a rule close to 400 of the more selective institutions use the Common Application (also called ‘CA’) forms, asking for records of school grade reports, including high school, a personal essay, and extracurricular activities as well as at least one letter of recommendation from a high school teacher.

State vs. private schools

Most state-funded schools don’t use the CA mentioned previously, but the more selective the school (such as the highly-regarded University of California at Berkley) the more stringent will be the admission requirements. State schools also favor their own state’s residents when admitting new or transfer students: many have minimum resident student quotas which they must meet for funding. If a student’s family has retained their residency status, schools in the ‘home state’ could be good options. Most state colleges offer lower tuition, even for out-of-state students, than do private schools.

Tests and other academic records

While there is no one standard college test in the U.S. many schools require successful completion of the ACT (American College Testing Program) or the College Board tests (also referred to as Standardized Achievement Tests, or SATs). While the SATs are in wider use, more selective schools are asking for scores from both.

High scores on a student’s International Baccalaureate tests and Advanced Placement tests may permit college freshman students to ‘place out’ of required lower-level core classes, moving ahead faster.

Other documents prospective foreign or expat college students may need:

  • Student visa – this will be necessary if you are a long-term resident of or a citizen of a foreign country. This will also include the need to show proof of ability to pay tuition; otherwise, the student must apply for financial aid as soon as possible.

For all students, embarking on the adventure of higher education offers the same promise of discovery and lifelong learning as it has for generations.

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Topics: expatriate employees, expats

How Does Relocation Assistance Affect Taxes?

Posted by Jim Retzer on Tue, Feb 10, 2015





Topics: tax impact of relocation, relocation taxes

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