Career Choice & Accompanying Partner Survey Says…

You know the old adage ‘two heads are better than one’?

Well, during the summer when I learned that Evelyn Simpson (aka The Smart Expat) and Louise Wiles (aka Success Abroad Coaching) were joining forces to conduct the Career Choice & Accompanying Partner Survey, I knew this dynamic duo would be a formidable combination.

I’m a fan of both of these women and already follow their individual sites, and now I’m eagerly tracking their new joint business site, www.AccompanyingPartner.com, as well.

Depending on the source, 50-60% of all those in international assignments have partners. The majority of these partners want to continue working when they move overseas. Often they know little of the myriad obstacles and challenges that make it difficult to do so.

In carrying out this groundbreaking project, Evelyn and Louise surveyed more than 300 accompanying partners in 59 countries around the world, exploring the decisions these partners make in relation to their own career choices when they relocate to accompany their partners in an international assignment.

Both women are highly qualified, well regarded professional entrepreneurs. They share a passion for coaching and working with accompanying partners as they take on the challenges of adaptation and relocation to their new lives abroad.

Equally as important? Both Evelyn and Louise are seasoned accompanying partners with a total of over 40 years of expat experience between them.

They know what it’s like to leave behind careers in other fields to support their spouses in overseas assignments.

They’ve done the tough yet necessary business of relocating a family and helping all members settle in during the expat transition cycle.

They’ve each gone back to school for the necessary coursework, training and accreditation, and successfully launched new careers for themselves.

With this endeavor they combine all of their talents, skills, training, experience and know-how to help create change that will benefit others who find themselves in the similar situation of accompanying partner.

I for one am thrilled that they conducted the survey and have put together this highly effective report.

By focusing on the wants, needs, challenges and opportunities of the relocating partner in general and career development and employment options in particular, this survey report goes a long way toward helping address the issues that can make or break an overseas assignment.

The extensive survey draws several important conclusions, which Evelyn and Louise share here:

The majority of accompanying partners do want to work in some form whilst on assignment and this makes the challenge of recruitment and retention of employees who are a part of a dual career couple very real and relevant to organisations.

There are some very real obstacles for accompanying partners to working whilst abroad in addition to the well documented and recognised challenge of work permits. Understanding these obstacles will help employers to target the resources that they use to support accompanying partners in a more effective and therefore cost efficient way.

Assuming that partners are happy in their supporting role is not always valid. Whether accompanying partners do not work due to circumstance or choice it may have a negative impact on their level of assignment fulfillment.

Accompanying partners require support in helping them to identify purpose and meaning in their assignment experience regardless of their ability or desire to work.

I’ve read the entire report and find it accurate, thorough and comprehensive. Evelyn and Louise have done their homework (pun intended), and have conducted a thoughtful and indepth analysis of the data provided in their survey results.

Perhaps the most important point made (with plenty of data to back it up) is this:

Instead of seeing accompanying partners as an additional cost and a difficult issue, the study proposes that partners be seen as an asset in the relocation process.

You have no idea how refreshing that simple statement is.

Just how invaluable is this report?

Image of Forum for Expatriate Management EMMA Shortlist Nominees 2012 at Adventures in Expat LandConsider this: it has already been shortlisted by the Forum for Expatriate Management for the European EMMA 2012 Awards in the category of ‘Thought Leadership’.

If you’re a current or aspiring expat, global nomad or international/transnational employee or partner (or know someone who is), you’ll want to check out the free summary report of the survey findings and Louise and Evelyn’s insights and assessments.

You can do so by clicking on this link Career Choice & Accompanying Partner Survey; you’ll receive the 13-page summary report as well as informative news updates on developments in these issues of interest.

If you’re a Human Resource professional, talent recruiter, global relocation and mobility specialist, cross-cultural or expat coach or consultant providing services to the expatriate community, by all means purchase the full report.

Ingest every word, put your thinking cap on and ask yourself how you can take immediate action that will enhance the satisfaction and well being of the people you serve.

It’s not only good business, it’s a smart strategy that will reap benefits for your employees, customers or clients, and just as importantly, for their families.




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