Families where mums or dads are away on assignment abroad for weeks are a growing trend in multinational companies, according to Crown World Mobility’s Consulting Services.
They are predicing an increase in split-family assignments in 2015. “It’s a significant trend and one that we’ve monitored closely,” said Lisa Johnson, Global Practice Leader at the consultancy.
“We are used to seeing rotational assignment policies where the employee works almost around the clock for a few weeks in the host location, then travels home to be with family for a few weeks. This approach was and still is common in the oil and gas, mining and engineering industries,” said Lisa. “But families that choose to be separated (split families) are a newer and growing trend in
international assignments. It emerged initially as an accepted approach in Asia, but is increasingly being applied globally.”
Crown World Mobility says the trend is driven by a modern requirement for globally mobile employees,a greater reliance on dual incomes, improved communications and a desire for career development. It says: “The traditional ‘trailing spouse’ is now something of the past.”
It adds that such assignments are rarely long-term solutions and that companies are increasingly realising they must provide extra support to make them work. It says this may include an increased
number of home leave trips for the employee and reverse home leave for the family to visit the employee. Property maintenance may also be necessary.
Johnson adds: “When utilised on a long-term basis, the stress of the split-family lifestyle can overtake its benefits. Employee burn-out and family disruption are common side effects. But things are certainly changing. Dual-career families, children’s education needs and extended family responsibilities are some of the drivers, along with growing evidence that assignments abroad can boost your career.”