In 2013 we conducted a survey that revealed many expat partners had changed their mind about wanting to find paid employment abroad after they arrive on location in their host country. To see how this situation has evolved over the last six years, we recently repeated the survey with 1,380 partners participating.
Genuine support needs
As discussed in our previous HR Newsletter, we have always maintained it’s far too simplistic to believe the availability of work opportunities in the host location is the one and only factor behind partner resistance. Exploring alternative plans is crucial as, even if a partner can secure a job, there can be all sorts of reasons why this is not the most suitable path for them.
Using data to analyse
The outcome of our 2013 Partner Support Demand Survey (588 partners and 100 HR / Global Mobility executives participated) initially allowed us to dispel some of the myths surrounding this topic. We discovered that 53% of partners who, before expatriating, were convinced they were going to secure paid employment in their host location had changed their mind once on location. At the time, HR personnel expected that work permit restrictions would be the main reason. With the survey results in hand, we could show them this was not the case.
The number one reason for expat partners ‘not seeking paid employment’? The limitations of expat life. Many had realised you just cannot uproot your career, relocate to another part of the world and continue business as usual. Of course, I must stress that if finding a job is the ideal plan for the partner, and that job is likely to be found, we are always ready to provide career coaching, job search assistance, CV / interview preparation, and other forms of support. But for those who decide to head in another direction we must also be ready to offer guidance and support.
All will be revealed
In discussions with companies that we support in designing their partner support programme, this topic is always an eye-opener, which is what motivated us to repeat the survey and get the latest insights and data. As the percentage of support programmes for partners of International Hires has risen significantly since 2013, we decided to separately survey both groups. The survey is now being analysed and we look forward to sharing the results with you soon.