Trailing Spouse

Topics: Spouse, Expatriate, The Other Side Pages: 3 (1108 words) Published: July 3, 2011
When a professional is sent on a foreign assignment on behalf of an American company, that expatriate’s wife or husband is known as the “trailing spouse.” In recent years, problems involving the trailing spouses of expatriate professionals has become more numerous or more obvious partly because of the growth in worldwide demand for expatriates. Growing and emerging markets have become the targets of international business growth, and outsourcing has contributed to this demand growth. (Daniels, Radebaugh, and Sullivan, Chapter 20). The demand growth has led to a greater number of expatriate’s. Coupling this with shorter assignments, the demand for a greater number of expatriate’s continues to grow. As this number grows, the number of trailing spouses will grow which in turn will generate more problems. Basically, the increased volume of expatriates will lead to an increase in the volume of trailing spouses which will lead to an increase in volume of issues. The trailing spouse is typically giving up their career or putting it on hold in order for their spouse to advance in their own career. In addition to the sheer increase in volume of expatriates, a gender trend has been identified in which a greater number of women are being sent on international assignments. Historically, the trailing spouse was a female, supporting the assignment of her husband; however, we are now seeing a clear trend of female expatriates on the rise. The text quotes a 16 time increase in female international assignments in the Asia Pacific region since 2001, North America a 4 time increase, and in Europe, a doubling of the females assigned on international projects. (Daniels, Radebaugh, and Sullivan, Chapter 20). One other area that is leading to an increase in problems with the trailing spouse is the Global credit crisis and general cost concerns of the business world today. Job loss in the US is forcing families to re-locate internationally which is imposing on...
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