Global Connection recently ran a survey on paid employment. Our goal was not just to find out how many partners hoped to find work when relocating. We also wanted to find out how many changed their plans on arrival to their host country – and why.
When addressing partner resistance, many multinationals and partner support providers still concentrate on helping partners to find paid employment. The reasoning is that a successful job search is the key to supporting mobility. At Global Connection, since we first started offering partner support 25 years ago, we have always urged caution with this approach. We had seen in many instances that work is not always possible to find. And even when work can be found, for numerous reasons it does not always prove to be a ‘fulfilling occupation’.
Back in 2013
In order to go from feelings to fact, in 2013, we conducted a survey and found that 53% of partners who initially intended to find paid employment on assignment changed their plans after arriving on location and they had done so for a variety of reasons. To see how this situation has evolved over the last six years, and to look into the matter with greater detail, we decided to repeat the survey earlier this year.
Six years on
For this latest survey, we polled 1,382 expat partners and partners of international hires and discovered almost two-thirds of all respondents (65%) intended to find paid employment abroad. Consequently one third, from the very start, needed to be supported with finding an alternative ‘fulfilling occupation’. Interestingly, more partners of international hires intended to find paid employment (83%) than had paid employment before moving (72%).
Ultimately, out of all participating partners, only 30% find their fulfilling occupation in paid employment, therefore all others (70%) plan to pursue or end up taking another path (for example, voluntary work, entrepreneurship, studying). This underscores the importance of having flexible/modular non-commoditized support programs that can be tailored to the individual needs of each partner.
The fact that 65% of all participating partners intended to find paid employment but only 46% secured it also highlights the value of a proactive approach, exploring a variety of alternative options or temporary backup plans to paid employment before relocating.
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