Survey: Expat spouses and employment

clipboards_Yet another couple of expat survey findings have been published that caught my attention. As you know from this post, I love each and every one of them. Surveys are necessary, helpful, informative; they shed light into detailed international corners where our individual flashlights don't reach, and they remind us that expats and their families are people, not commodities. Still, I can't help but wonder: how much more evidence does the world need that a happy expat spouse can make or break the assignment?

I don't have a brilliant and witty argument in reply to that question, instead I could go on about the perils of disregarding the spouse's needs. Employment opportunity is one aspect of the bigger picture, and no doubt an important one. The lack of it can lead to identity crises, boredom, resentment, strained communication, stress, marital breakdown, and depression.

"[The Permit Foundation's latest survey Expatriate spouses and partners employment, work permits and international mobility] provides evidence that a lack of spouse or partner employment opportunities adversely affects global mobility of highly skilled international employees." Well, what is it that is stopping the movers and shakers from providing excellent service to the entire expat family? Money? Time? Really? Could it be that simple?  'Cos that's what I'm here for! Contact me for a chat about how I can support your people! I can't give out work permits (wouldn't that be the day...), but I can make sure your guys at least have a more rounded understanding of the emotional roller coaster they're getting themselves into; and if they're stuck, we can figure out alternative courses of action that may just make the difference between early termination and finishing the assignment. And that, surely, is worth looking at, right?

If you have other ideas, let me repeat the question: what is it that is stopping the movers and shakers from providing excellent service to the entire expat family? Let's see if we can get a discussion going in the comments-section. I'll also be sure to bring it up at the FIGT Conference in March and report back. FIGT, of course, stands for Families in Global Transition, and yours truly is looking forward to giving a presentation as well as soaking in the general atmosphere of "expat families deserve all the support they can get". Can't wait. Why don't you drop by and we can share a cuppa? Early bird registration is still available until January 31st!

Expatica has awarded the ORC's survey on expat's work-life balance first place in their "Top 5 Industry Survey Awards". You can read about its main findings in this article. And another shameless plug while we're at it: find me on their expert's panel for personal coaching questions on Expatica Germany.

Wishing all of us in the US a happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. / National Service Day  (hear and read about it here and here) and happy (and glorious) inauguration. Til next week, have a good one!

Thanks to flickr's hownowdesign for the photo under Creative Commons License.

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