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ALIX CARNOT - Head of International Careers Dept at Expat Communication.
Summarized results of a survey of 3,500 francophone expat couples living worlwide from her study Expat Value. Overall couples report expatriation was a good experience that strengthened their relationship. The presentation focused primarily on career impact for the expat spouse, typically a well- educated woman, the majority of whom want to work abroad. While half of these who wished to find work abroad and most found employment on return, the majority felt expatriation had a negative impact on their careers.
Extensive data covered a wide variety of aspects of the expat spouse’s work experiences abroad such as motivations for working abroad, the impact of children on importance of career abroad, the importance of networks in successful searches and almost complete lack of support, especially from partner’s employer, for the accompanying spouse’s employment efforts. Data also compared the couples’ feelings about the expatriation experience and its impact on their relationship.
The survey data suggested two major challenges to the fluidity of career paths for the expatriate couple: enhancing international mobility and guaranteeing parity at a high level.Three main lines of action emerge, related to information, training and identifying / innovating solutions.