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Spouse/Partner Assistance

Underscoring a key challenge of dual-income households with family commitments, for the fourth year in a row essentially six out of ten firms continue to indicate spousal/partner employment “almost always” or “frequently” affects employee relocations. This remains far higher than at any time over the previous 12 years (59%-63% vs. roughly half or less). We see continued efforts to mitigate this in historically high levels for offers of employment assistance to spouses/partners, both overall and internationally.

  • Large firms remain heavily affected by spousal/partner employment (59%), similar to the past three years (54%-62%), and its impact remains far higher than in 2008-2014 (27%-43%).
  • An increase of 20 percentage points since 2013 remains in effect for mid-size firms (63% vs. 43%) after hitting 54% in 2014 and running 65%-68% during 2015-2017.
  • Small firms continue to be affected around half the time (54%), similar to historical levels over the past 15 years, but trending on the higher side (although below the elevated percentages of 60% & 64% for the past two years).

With the impact of spouse/partner employment remaining well above historical averages for the past four years overall, a corresponding rise in employment assistance remains in place. During this period, firms of all sizes offered such assistance far more often compared to previous years. After noting similar levels across company size for the past two years, we now see it more often at mid-size and large firms. Although it is down among small firms from the 2017 high (50% vs. 62%), it remains far more likely to be offered than before 2015 (roughly a third on average, historically) with the exception of 2009 (48%) during the initial recovery from the Great Recession.

  • Roughly half of service and government/military organizations offer this assistance, but it trends notably higher among manufacturing/processing (61%), wholesale/retail (67%), and financial firms (72%).
  • For firms of all sizes, the most popular form of employment assistance is networking assistance. Around a third offer assistance with résumé preparation and around a fourth provide interview skills training or employment within the company.
  • Small firms indicate that 26% of employees relocating with a spouse/partner used employment assistance, while usage trends closer to a third for mid-size and large firms.
Question 41
Frequency of employee's relocation being affected by employment status of spouse/partner
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Question 42
Companies that allow the hiring of spouses of employees
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Question 42a
Companies that assist an employee's spouse or partner in finding employment in the new location
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Question 42b-1
Methods of spousal/partner employment assistance
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Question 42b-2
Methods of spousal/partner employment assistance
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Question 42c
Approximate percentage of relocated employees with a spouse/partner who used employment assistancee
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61% of companies offer to help find jobs for spouses or partners relocating internationally, the fourth-highest level historically and nearly identical to domestic offering (59%). After three straight years where such assistance was notably more popular for international relocations, it moves back to the 2008-2014 trend of nearly identical, although much higher, levels. Also, after three years of similarity across company size, it is now more likely at mid-size and large firms than at small firms (the historical norm).

  • Similar to the domestic trend, the most popular assistance method is networking assistance across company size. Internationally, mid-size and large firms appear more than twice as likely to offer résumé assistance compared to small firms (19% vs. 8%).
  • While close to a fourth of firms across industries offer networking assistance, non-profit firms are an outlier (13%), and one-fifth or more of for-profit service, government/military, wholesale/retail and financial organizations offer résumé assistance; far fewer do so in other segments.
Question 46k-1
Method of employment assistance for internationally relocated employee's spouse or partner
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Question 46k-2
Method of employment assistance for internationally relocated employee's spouse or partner
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Family Assistance

The impact of family issues/ties remains a main factor in declined relocations, and many employees are finding themselves caring for both elderly relatives and children at the same time. Having children is often delayed in more affluent, high-earning households, typically part of the highly educated pool employers tap for relocation. Thus, a generational squeeze is often experienced by those within this demographic, creating a need for support. For the fourth year in a row, firms are making far greater accommodations overall for childcare (59% vs. 31%-43% historically) and for elder care (44% vs. 16%-26% historically), even if merely providing lists of resources. Since this shift occurred in 2015, it has remained stable overall, although some trends emerge by company size.

  • The percentages of small firms offering elder care support dropped from last year’s historical high (57% to 37%) but it remains roughly two to three times more likely than it was before 2015.
  • The percentage of mid-size firms offering elder care jumped immensely in 2015 (65%) and has stabilized near this high over the past three years (52%-55%).
  • Among large firms, offering levels peaked in 2015-2016 (53% & 48%), shifted lower in 2017 (43%) and have fallen to match historical highs (40%) prior to 2015, averaging nearly 10 percentage points higher than the historical average of the previous 12 years.
  • Mid-size firms are more likely to offer elder care assistance than are small or large firms in 2018 (55% vs. 37% & 40%).

Overall, roughly six out of ten organizations over the past four years offered childcare accommodations to relocating employees. As well, roughly two-thirds or more of both mid-size and large firms offered such support. This is remarkably consistent—and notably above levels prior to 2015. Additionally, while fewer small firms offer this in 2018 compared to 2016-2017 (45% vs. 57% & 64%), it still runs similar to 2015 (51%) and above any previous year measured.

Question 39-1
Companies offering elder care assistance
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Question 39-2
Elder care assistance offered
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Question 40-1
Companies offering childcare assistance
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Question 40-2
Childcare assistance offered
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