The Challenges of International Assignments for the “Dual Career Couple”

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The February 2011 education program of the Houston International HR Roundtable is on the challenges of international assignments for the “Dual Career Couple.”

Research has shown that over 30% of international assignments fail because of dual-career issues. Organizations are also failing to attract the best talent for overseas postings since up to 50% of employees are just not willing to consider relocation because of the potential loss of income of their partner.   Due to the high cost of international assignments,  it is key to minimize the risk of assignment failure.  The program will cover issues, challenges, resources and solutions for the ‘dual career’ couple from different perspectives. Our panel consists of international HR, “trailing” spouses, and relocation experts. Topics will include:

- Industry ‘best practices’ for expatriate support including those provided by Outpost, the highly professional global information and support network for Shell employees and their families.  The Shell / Outpost partnership continues to be viewed globally as the best example of expatriate support within a large company.  Career and personal development support for the accompanying spouse / partner is one of the key services offered in many Outpost locations, including the Houston office.

- The unique challenges faced by accompanying spouses/partners who want to continue their career in the new location and the personal and career development strategies they must learn to be successful.  Insights into both the emotional and practical issues faced by the ‘dual career’ couple and ideas on how to overcome the obstacles to a fulfilling overseas experience for both parties.

- Information and resources available to HR professionals managing global mobility and to ‘dual career’ couples who are considering or who have accepted an overseas assignment [online resources, books, associations and conferences].


Patricia Tan, Shell Outpost, Houston

Mayté Mitre-Tunison, Pandora Management Consulting, LLC

Jackie Verity, Kaleidoscope Careers

Paul R. White, Harvest Natural Resources

Complete bios are available here

This program has been submitted to HR Certification Institute for review.


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