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Evolution of Employee Relocation as Dual Career Couples Surge

Evolution of Employee Relocation as Dual Career Couples Surge

A few decades ago, employee relocation and the work world looked very different. Men were the primary breadwinners. Women took care of the family and didn’t work outside the home. Dual career couples were not prominent. That meant when it came to employee relocation, there was typically a female “trailing” spouse. If the company asked you to move, you did, even if it meant uprooting your entire family. This was because there was an expectation of lifetime employment. Together, all of this made employee relocation services solely focused on the logistics, and nothing more. (i.e. How do we get Joe Schmoe from point A to point B with as little cost to the company as possible?)

Then in the 80s and 90s, a culture shift started. Dual career couples emerged and now, it’s the norm. People started making career moves, rather than staying at the same job for a lifetime. The war for talent began. The term “accompanying spouse” took on a whole new meaning because couples started making the decision to move (or not to move) together. At the same time, employee relocation assignments became less appealing to couples because of the stress associated with finding a job for the accompanying spouse.

The Trailing Spouse Era is Over; Has Your Policy Caught Up for Dual Career Couples?

Our family life has changed since the 1990s, but has your relocation policy? As dual-career couples surge, organizations are now approaching global mobility with a more holistic approach. Instead of focusing solely on logistics, there is a focus on the wellbeing of employees and their families throughout a relocation and how that impacts the business. Employees who are relocating aren’t just worried about finding and closing on a new home. They’re adjusting to the new work environment, finding the right doctors and schools, dealing with their children who are struggling to make friends and stressed about their spouse finding a new job.

Add More Diversity to the Employee Relocation Pool with Revised Policies

In addition to the employee engagement benefits, think of dual-career support in the relocation policy as a diversity strategy for your organization. Both women and men want to work for a company that values their professional growth, and that of their partners. By offering dual career support in a relocation policy, women in particular are more likely to be open to accepting a relocation offer. Job search support will attract new and diverse talent to your teams. It’s also necessary for the emotional health of your employees, especially when there’s an accompanying male spouse. In one study by Harvard professor Alexandra Killewald, it was found that men who were not working full-time were 33% more likely to divorce in the year following their stint of unemployment.

With so many variables, the chances of something going wrong during a relocation are high. This, along with the emergence of dual-career couples, is what IMPACT Group had in mind when designing its relocation services. Our coaches and programs improve the results of an organization’s global relocation efforts for the employee, their family and the company as a whole. From spouse/partner job search assistance to one-on-one coaching, our team supports the lives of your employees, so they can drive growth in your business.

Take a hard look at your employee relocation plan.

Does it address the needs of contemporary employees, couples and families? If not, it’s not too late to change it.

It’s time to focus on moving people, not boxes. Explore relocation assistance programs for today’s dual career couples.


Contribution by Lauren Herring

Lauren Herring is the CEO of IMPACT Group. She propelled the company into a global career development leader. As a second-generation female business owner, Lauren is uniquely positioned to help future women leaders succeed. She is passionate about building a better world and helping people reach their career goals. Lauren serves on various boards like Boy Scouts, Washington University’s Women’s Leadership Forum, Connections to Success which helps people in the cycle of poverty gain economic independence and St. Louis Regional Chamber, which supports the economic growth of the St. Louis community.

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