Spousal support can play a vital role in the acceptance and refusal of an international assignment. Family concerns make up 38% and partner’s career makes up 40% of the top reasons for refusal.
Often such an assignment can force partners to choose between following their partner abroad or maintaining their career, with only 12% of partners employed both before and during assignment.
Partner’s who continued their career abroad had a higher level of satisfaction with the placement, and, as a result, meant that the international assignment was less likely to fail. Spousal support is therefore a huge benefit to any international company, and there are many ways to implement it.
Certain global mobility specialist companies will have spousal assistance programs: these programs often involve career counselors, assistance in CV preparation, interview practice and have considerable access to potential employers. Some specialists even offer partners links to other expat partners who are going through a similar process, and might have similar interests, hobbies or professional backgrounds. Most importantly, however, these specialists can offer huge support in attaining work permits and visas.
Companies who are able to offer career counseling for spouses, whilst also having a vast network of recruiters and potential employers are far more likely to have successful international assignments. Ultimately, there needs to be awareness and respect for the sacrifices the partner will have to make. This can be anything from a shift in career to a complete re-evaluation of personal identity.
Spousal support isn’t just about continuing a career. Partner’s need to be able to continue many other aspects of their life; this can include finding local schools, supermarkets, libraries, gyms, post offices and many other aspects of daily life. Understanding the processes for where to buy a car, or visit the doctors or hospital are vital to life abroad.
While 30 years ago the accompanying spouse would have been viewed as happy to play the domestic housewife, times are vastly different. Accompanying partners now have their own careers and identities and spousal support is pivotal to the relocations process.