Expatriation : how to promote the spouse’s professional integration?

If expatriation often makes people dream and is usually a great opportunity for personal growth, it is not uncommon that it raises difficulties for spouse faced with uncertainty about his professional future and change of status. Indeed, in the current context where both spouses work, whoever resigns from his own job to follow the other is confronted with questions about his repositioning opportunities, his employability or his professional identity.

A major success factor of expatriation is the successful integration of the spouse in his new context. How can we help him accomplish this transition and his new professional start successfully?

In the context that precedes the departure or return from abroad, a career coaching turns out to be relevant to ensure that the spouse has a successful transition.

What is a career coaching ?

Career coaching means precisely building a professional project and defining an action plan to implement it. For the expatriate’s spouse, this process can help to :

  • Take advantage of this change of situation and transform it into an opportunity to develop his professional life,
  • Project himself into local activities that contribute to the development of his employability,
  • Give sense and an overall coherence to his career.

The three provisions that promote good local professional integration of the expatriate’s spouse :

  • "Dare to trust on one’s own wings." As the saying goes: "A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid that the branch could break, because its confidence is not in the branch, but in its own wings." Cultural and language differences or local restrictions can give rise to apprehensions that can go as far as renouncing to project oneself into a professional activity locally. It is therefore important to be aware of one’s skills, talents and potential and to connect to one’s deep aspirations, something that is made possible through a career coaching process.
  • "Know what you want." Indeed, "There is no favorable wind for those who do not know where they are going." Defining a professional project enables to stay the actor of one’s own career and to face potential hazards more diligently. The career coaching process enables to build a project that is both realistic and in line with one’s personal aspirations. If the context does not allow the spouse to work locally , this service allows him to explore the employability levers to serve a longer-term project.
  • "Dealing with uncertainty". The degree of uncertainty of a professional project is all the more important as the targeted market is far from one’s usual landmarks. During his career coaching, the candidate is continuously monitored in its information gathering and investigation process, which reduces the degree of uncertainty. In this way, he also acquires the keys to an exploration that will help him implement his project locally.

Cécile Armand Banvillet


Coach and Consultant. Executive Coaching (UCP), DESS RH (Paris X) and HEC Paris graduate. Of both French and Brazilian cultures, she has been coaching people in their professional development for more than eight years. Being aware of one’s own talents is, according to her, the key to a successful professional transition.

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