International Assignment Acceptance Rates

International Assignment Acceptance Rates

International assignments are an important means to develop internal talent and to recruit externally. Paragon Relocation’s Consulting Team can advise on how to best structure assignments and also what benefits are critical to success and employee and family satisfaction. The following case study suggests that companies may need to give greater weight to spouse/domestic partner career assistance, in particular.

Opportunity Knocks
While a survey from the Worldwide ERC® notes family issues as the primary driver for failure of international assignments, a surprising number of respondents to Paragon‘s survey do not view a lack of spouse/domestic partner career assistance as a deterrent to accepting international assignments. This finding suggests both the employee on assignment and company may be underestimating the financial, and more importantly, the emotional impact resulting from spouses/domestic partners putting their careers “on hold.” Legalities, as well as language barriers, skill set translation, etc. may impede the spouse/domestic partner’s ability to remain productive for the duration of the assignment.

Without a direct relationship to the spouse/domestic partner, corporate HR may not have all the pieces to the puzzle, with some families trying too hard to “make it work” and other qualified candidates opting out of the process before it begins. Addressing the nuances of each family’s total career development is crucial to assignment success.

Bridging the Gap
International assignments offer employees the potential for personal and professional development, however they can present a challenge as the employee assimilates upon repatriation. Repatriation can be even more difficult for the spouse/domestic partner who may be perceived as unemployable upon return. Investing in an outlet for the spouse/domestic partner to remain engaged in their respective industry or workforce may be crucial as family mobility continues to play a key role in assignment success.

For approximately 1% of the overall total assignment costs, work permit sponsorship (where appropriate) as well as career continuation packages comprised of employment opportunities analysis, resume or CV development, networking guidance, and exploration of career alternatives such as continuing education and volunteer opportunities should support the success of the overall assignment while helping secure a healthy Return On Investment (ROI).

Survey Results
What influence does spouse/domestic partner, dual career assistance have on international acceptance rates?

1-No Impact15%
2-Little Impact40%
3-Some Impact20%
4-Moderate Impact20%
5-Large Impact5%

What forms of dual career assistance do you offer to accompanying spouse/domestic partners on international assignments?

Work permit sponsorship25%
Reimbursement for continuing education/licensure25%
Loss of income payment5%
Support not provided45%

If providing loss of income support, what is the basis for payment?

Fixed dollar amount75%
Percent of salary0%

Have you seen an increase for spouse/domestic partner dual career assistance benefits for international assignments?


Do you anticipate expanding your spouse/domestic partner dual career assistance within the next year?


Survey Participation
The data represents results from 20 corporate relocation professionals in the following industries:

Industrial Manufacturing45%
Consumer Products5%
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