(conducted by Netexpat and EY)
3,412 respondents from 121 host locations, 81 nationalities (senior HR representatives from both corporations and international governmental organizations, mobile employees, and partners).
"The resounding message expressed by mobile employees and their partners to their international employers is that addressing the well-being of the accompanying partner is a key driver to successfully managing international mobility."
"When asked about the ROI of investing in partner support benefits, 69% and 62% of employers confirmed that their partner support program has had a positive impact on family acclimation and assignment acceptance respectively. 28% have also noticed a positive impact on the assignment repatriation phase."
"Partners expect to be supported to integrate more easily in the host location, rebuild their network, work or study while abroad or contribute to a voluntary organization."
Research has found that partners are not only central in the decision process to accept an assignment, but also the wellbeing of a ‘trailing spouse’ has a strong impact on the success of it.
Failed assignments are attributed to spouse / partner dissatisfaction with the new location and lack of personal and professional development, carrying on highly annual costs and leaving behind a trail of negative fractured experiences - for everyone.
Yvonne McNulty, a Singapore-based consultant who studies mobility issues, said the biggest issues for spouses was loss of identity - “What I found in my research is that most spouses face an identity crisis, but only about 10 to 15 percent did something about it, by becoming authors, getting an M.B.A., or starting a business” she said. Most “felt they were victims, with no control”.
“There are many times you’re fed up and depressed. Sometimes, you are in shock and the only person who understands is another expat” - Meg Sondey’s interview in ‘The Dislocated Americans’, Dec 2008 article by the New York Times.
There are also different ways to talk about what it takes to move and relocate several times. The incredible sacrifice and effort behind it, the audacity of launching a life from scratch - several times, the strength required to raise children mostly as solo-parent…expat or not, it takes superpowers to keep it all together.
Those who have taken the journey or have mastered it, hold an extraordinary treasure of lessons and adventures that isn't talked about enough. They hold unique stories that can help us learn from each other. Help us heal. Give comfort and reassurance to those who are about to take the journey for the first time or might feel stuck in theirs ...