The United States and the UK are the top destinations for companies transferring employees around the world with Singapore in third place, outpacing China, a new report reveals.

While China is often thought to be the fastest growing of global assignment destinations, relocation volume to Singapore has more than doubled in the last five years according to the data from Cartus Corporation, a leading provider of global relocation management services.

‘Singapore has demonstrated strong resilience during the global economic crisis and many of our clients have chosen Singapore as part of their business expansion plans. Schooling and health care have always been key factors that our assignees and their families find attractive about Singapore,’ said Kenneth Kwek, head of Asia-Pacific operations.

The report, which is based on all international moves completed by Cartus clients during the last five years, show that some key markets experienced relocation volume declines, while assignments in other regions had significant gains.

It also shows that a number of new destination locations have begun to materialize as companies begin to take advantage of opportunities in non-traditional markets. In terms of regional representation, Europe had the most locations ranked among the top relocation destinations with 11 countries, followed by Asia-Pacific with eight, North America has two,  Central America also has two, the Middle East one and South America also has one.

‘We work with many multinational companies whose volume of moves is a good indication of overall global business activity. We have noticed that even though their relocation volume may change year over year, most of the same locations have remained on our list as the major destinations for the employees that our clients send on international assignment despite the changing economic landscape,’ said  Kevin Kelleher, Cartus president and chief executive officer.

‘Interestingly, however, this pattern is not mirrored in the less traditional markets, where activity is much more volatile and reflects the wide variety of business opportunities available in the global marketplace,’ he added.

The US has held onto the top spot since 2006, while the UK has experienced a small gain in volume. The remaining locations at the top of the list include China and Switzerland, a key financial hub, at fourth and fifth, respectively. India took the sixth spot, jumping up from ninth place in 2006. Germany fell to seventh from its previous fifth place ranking in 2006, while Hong Kong moved from 11th to eighth place over five years, due to a 77% international volume increase. Japan and Canada, which each experienced subtle volume shifts, round out the top 10.

When looking beyond the top 10 ranked destinations to a broader view of the top 25, global relocation volume has shown significant shifts during the last five years, with several locations posting dramatic gains.

Among the destinations whose relocation volume more than doubled are the United Arab Emirates, which advanced six spots in the ranking, and Brazil, which advanced 10 spots, to claim the 13th and 14th positions, respectively. New locations appearing include Panama at 18, South Korea at 23 and Poland at 25.

Meanwhile, the three destinations that appeared on the 2006 Top 25 list but dropped off in 2010 due to volume declines were Saudi Arabia, Austria, and Thailand.

‘It’s clear that as market opportunities present themselves in many of these non-traditional relocation markets, companies are beginning to transfer employees there in greater numbers,’ said Kelleher.

‘Companies will need to be well informed and positioned to take advantage of a broader array of countries, regions, and cultures than ever before,’ he added.