About this podcast

Why supporting partners and spouses as well as the assignee can lead to better outcomes, more successful assignments and greater productivity and wellbeing

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Dual careers are becoming more common with the income and career satisfaction of both parties very important in a relationship. However, there are personal challenges and pitfalls for couples when one of them is contemplating an international assignment.
Marianne is joined by Dr Susan Shortland, Senior Lecturer in Human Resources Management (HRM) at the University of Westminster, Professor Emerita at London Metropolitan University and a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Susan is an active researcher and the author of five books in the field of HRM. She previously held a managerial consultancy role in international HRM at KPMG, and managed The CBI Employee Relocation Council.

Research highlights that dual careers are a major barrier to employees accepting an international position. It also highlights that one of the major causes of assignment failure relates to dual career partnerships.

Marianne and Sue discuss what we mean by dual careers in a mobility context and the benefits of supporting the partner or spouse as well as the assignee. They examine the risks to the employer if a working partner decides to stay at home, issues around working visas and support and whether the cost of supporting dual careers outweighs the benefits.

In the case of dual career couples, each partner may be highly qualified and keen to progress in their individual career. Deciding whether to take on the assignment is a balance of remuneration, career development and growth. Employers need to be aware that an unhappy partner may lead the assignment to fail, evidenced by early return or resignation. They look at the ingredients of a successful dual relocation, and how to provide the most cost-effective and useful support.


Marianne Curphey

Marianne is an award-winning freelance journalist, author and columnist specializing in personal finance and business. She writes on investment and personal finance for national magazines, newspapers and websites including BBC Worldwide, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and The Observer.

Dr. Sue Shortland

Susan is a Senior Lecturer in HRM at the University of Westminster. Her career spans 40+ years, during which time she has worked in both the private and public sectors. She is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.