While the relocation support that employers offer to male and female global employees is generally quite similar, there are some gender differences in terms of the support needed. The Expat Insider Business Edition, a global report focusing on how foreign assignees, international hires, and relocating spouses experience life abroad, explored the relocation support received and desired by these expatriates, and further broke this down by gender.
The Gender Findings:
Most Common Types of Relocation Support
Looking at the most common types of support offered by employers — a lump-sum payment for expatriate-related expenses and an organized move — a higher percentage of men received help in terms of having their move organized (57% compared to 51% of women), as well as the lump-sum payment (48% compared to 43% of women). On the other hand, a larger share of women stated that they would have liked these two types of support. When it comes to assistance with their move, 34% of female global employees said they didn’t receive this but wanted it, compared to 27% of men. For the lump-sum payment, an even larger share of women (44%) indicated they would have liked it, compared to 39% of their male counterparts.
Most Desired Types of Relocation Support
Access to local networking and socializing opportunities were identified in the report as two of the most desired types of support, and women indicated a stronger need for these. While there was no big difference in the percentages of those that received these types of support, the biggest differences were that 64% of women would have liked access to networking (compared to 59% of men), and 62% would have liked access to socializing (compared to 57% of men).
These differences could be due to the fact that both the foreign assignees and international hires that participated in the survey had larger percentages of male representation. Of the survey respondents, 62% of foreign assignees were male (38% female) and of the international hires, 56% were male (44% female). While employers may offer support equally to women and men, the actual issue could be that females are still underrepresented, and in the minority in the global workplace. This could, furthermore, also be the reason why women indicated a bigger need for opportunities to engage with others, as this may be more challenging for them.
Most Significant Difference in Spouse Support The type of relocation support that saw the most significant difference in the results was that of the additional spouse support. At 25%, a larger share of males received this, compared to 17% of females. Even though a lower percentage of women were offered this support for their partners, only 21% stated they would have liked it, compared to 31% of men.
From the results, this doesn’t seem to be an important type of support for female foreign assignees or international hires, as 62% stated they didn’t receive it and didn’t need it (compared to 43% of males). However, the significantly higher percentage could be explained by the fact that a larger percentage of women moved abroad without a partner, and therefore didn’t require spouse support, or they moved abroad with working partners that didn’t need spouse support. This seems to be reinforced by the fact that a higher share of female working expats (56%) that participated in the survey were single, and therefore did not need spouse support. Among male working expats, 70% were in a relationship, and only 30% were single.
Read the Expat Insider 2018 Business Edition: Expat Insider is one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive surveys on life abroad (18,135 expats from across the globe took part in the 2018 survey — 10% of respondents were foreign assignees, 19% were international hires, and 8% were relocating spouses).
Expat Insider 2018 | Business Edition
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