What is at the heart of partners’ doubts right now?

Our latest survey has given us key insights into how Covid-19 has impacted the mindset of expat partners and partners of international hires. Here we look more closely at what’s feeding their doubts.

Avoiding intercontinental moves

One of the biggest doubts for all partners (those preparing for and already on an assignment) has been caused by travel restrictions and the inability to physically support families / elderly relatives at home. Many partners mentioned they will try to avoid an intercontinental move.

Kids make a difference

Many expat partners (preparing for and already on an assignment) expressed their uncertainty with regard to schooling. Some mention travelling with kids has become too difficult / dangerous. Overall, they worry about the impact this experience will have on the general well-being of their kids.

A perk is gone

Not being able to travel purely for pleasure is also a factor for expat partners. For many, one of the most appealing aspects of an assignment is exploring their new location and surrounding countries.

Job opportunities

Partners of international hires preparing for an assignment (who are ostensibly weighing up a move to another country for an indefinite period) are worried about finding work. They’re also worried about feelings of isolation and social integration as they recognise it will likely be more challenging to build new networks (both for social and professional purposes).

Safety and security

Concerns about safety and security are often mentioned but also in a positive way, for example, partners who are grateful they don’t live in their home country. A number of partners of international hires also pointed out that they are reconsidering the move based on how the crisis has been managed in their potential host country. Some expat partners commented that they do not feel welcome in their host country anymore, citing experiences of (increased) discrimination of expats by locals.

Doubts, yes, but…

Although 23% of participants stated that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their readiness, their additional comments show that many are not ruling out another move per se. Many feel more insecure, indicating that they would give more thought to topics such as the political climate and the healthcare system of their host country.

More cautious

When asked if the Covid-19 situation would impact their readiness to go on another assignment, 71% of expat partners currently on assignment answered it would not. However, their comments indicate they will be more cautious, weighing up the pros and cons.

The value of support

The survey reveals Covid-19 has made partners more aware that the freedom they experienced before the pandemic can no longer be taken for granted. In general, the ongoing situation has made expat partners more aware of the value of support (or lack thereof) from their partners’ employers.

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