Move or be redundant...I've heard that before
I know this move was to win a government contract, but the idea highlights a problem we see in the US a lot lately.
Because we basically have 50 taxing jurisdictions, states are constantly competing with each other to steal large corporations' workers and locations. Some states like Florida and Texas have no state income tax and are constantly begging businesses in New York and other high-tax states to move. I live in New York, but there are plenty of other examples, even in lower-tax states. The higher-tax states counter this with crazy local incentives like, "We'll give you free land/free power" or "you don't have to pay property tax for 10 years."
The problem with this, in a profession like IT that isn't seen as important or central, is that corporate IT departments are being shifted around from one tax deal to another at a much higher rate than before. I've been through 2 of these moves, choosing to quit rather than move both times. (I'm the 1-in-1000 individual who would rather be unemployed than spend the summer months in Georgia, Texas or Florida.) For now, there's still plenty of opportunity in high-tax land, but one has to wonder whether we're creating a generation of transient workers.
What's different in this case from the long-gone 60s through 80s? There were plenty of internal employee transfers from one location to another. The difference is that the company was usually worth the loyalty a worker showed it by moving their family across the country. Each time this has happened to me, I've approached this from this direction -- hating of the climate aside, what happens when this company moves me with my NY salary to GA, then fires me 2 months later and immediately forces a huge pay cut to compete on the local labor market?
Not sure how it is in the UK, but moving is insanely expensive and time consuming, especially long-distance moves. Most people roll the costs into their mortgage and never see it, but every real estate transaction you do is at least five figures' worth of fees, costs, and expenses. That five figure figure :-) is just transactional waste -- you never get that money back unless/until you make a profit on your old place. I know people can't expect to work for the same company forever or in the same location, but it sure would be nice if companies didn't assume that all their employees have a one-bedroom apartment they can pack into a U-Haul at a moment's notice.