Dual-career programmes are HR activities and initiatives for two people in a committed relationship, where both partners have a career but, at the same time, do not wish to forgo having a family.
Although this expectation of a relationship now goes without saying, in most cases one of the partners' careers often stalls when the couple start a family. Whilst one partner continues to climb the career ladder, the other remains behind and frustrated. Often international assignments can also prove to be insurmountable obstacles to relationships. Because employees that have a rewarding and happy family life are, as a rule, better performers, an ever increasing number of companies are supporting this type of partnership through specific programmes.
This ranges from organising child care, assistance in finding an apartment, to offering the partner a job in the same organisation. In addition to improving employee motivation, employers hope that these measures will be beneficial when competing for skilled workers and managers. Employees are more open to a long-term assignment at another company location if their partner can also find work there; and if the company assists with relocation or even helps to improve the living situation. However, a dual-career programme can also harbour potential conflict, for example if other employees suspect cronyism in the employment a spouse, which can challenge the perceived level of equality within the company. Therefore the qualifications required for the job in question must have absolute priority. To avoid this discussion, firms can offer to help the partner find employment via their network or an employment agency. Alternatively, the company may support the job search financially. When an employee accepts an international assignment, families can often make use of relocation services: help with moving, language courses, children's school fees etc.
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