Expat women on relocation more successful than their male equivalents

Expat women on relocation more successful than their male equivalents

Expat women on relocation more successful than their male equivalents

Research shows the most successful ‘couples’ relocations occur when the female partner is offered the job.

Many couples relocate overseas because one person has been offered an assignment, with the most successful relocations taking place when it’s the woman who’s working, according to a recent study. Author of the study Yvonne McNulty, a Singapore University of Social Sciences senior lecturer, knows of just one of two failed relocations involving female expatriates over the past 15 years. She believes women are able to cope with the stresses and difficulties of working overseas very differently and usually better than can their male equivalents.

Success in a home-country job can easily lead to a career-advancing assignment overseas, but it’s the personal home environment which impacts the employee’s successful performance once the move has been made. Most failed overseas assignments have been influenced by less-than perfect domestic situations, with McNulty suggesting women are better as making sure their new position is the best deal for their partner and family as well as for themselves.

Women on overseas assignments mostly continue as home-makers and childcare givers, even when they’re the family breadwinners. Pre-relocation discussions tend to be on different levels if it’s the woman who’s been headhunted, with whether or not to take the job a genuinely joint decision. Previous research suggests women research job offers more extensively than do men, and may well refuse the opportunity if it’s a poor deal for their partner.

As a result of this important differential between the sexes, more women are being offered relocations than ever before. Company reports state 25 per cent of their overseas assignments are being given to women, a strong improvement over 1995’s 13 per cent. However, five per cent of companies considered female employees needed to climb higher barriers than do men to get accepted for an overseas assignment. A possible reason for this is the reversal of societal relationship norms which invariably occurs when female success outranks that of the male partner.

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