The discussion on whether to offer relocation benefits to same-sex partners and support for elderly or dependent parents were revealed to be the year's biggest relocation trends.

According to the 2013 Trends in Global Relocation: Biggest Challenges survey by Cartus Corporation, 60% of companies provided domestic relocation benefits for same-sex partners, regardless of their partnership recognition status.

When it came to international relocation, 78% of respondents provided benefits to same-sex partners, depending on whether they were able to get an approved visa for their destination country.

However, 15% of respondents said they were not currently providing these benefits, while 9% provided them on a case-by-case basis.

The second major relocation trend uncovered by the study was the handling of requests for elderly or dependent parents accompanying employees on assignment.

A majority (78%) of companies said they saw an increase in such requests for support, which could cover travel expenses, visa support, and even full support if they are legally treated as the dependents of the assignee.

"These two trends are another indication of the degree to which changing demographics and social issues are influencing the relocation landscape, both on domestic and global fronts," Matt Spinolo, executive vice president of Cartus, said.

"Companies are exploring these issues, and their responses, to ensure they can retain their top talent, remain competitive, and respond to their employees' ever-changing needs."

The study, which also looked into the biggest relocation challenges, found controlling costs to be the top challenge, rising by 15% year-on-year to 76% in 2013.

Other top challenges include availability, suitability and price of housing (51%), and complying with laws and regulations (49%), which both rose by 10% from 2012.

The report also revealed North America as the region most critical to future business success (51%), narrowly surpassing China by 2%.