The following suggestions may be found useful in lessening the impact on the spouse’s careers. First, a one to one meeting should be set up with the spouse of the expat to recognize that there will be challenges and the journey may not be as smooth at the start but will improve as they adjust themselves. Preferably a meeting arranged with a previous spouse in China to give the low down on what to expect from a personal perspective. In a few rare cases, compensation could be offered as an insurance against loss of income to the spouse.
Third, have the spouse become a partner in the offer by employing her. Fourth, have a chat with the spouses’ company to see if at all possible she may continue to work for her company in a foreign branch or online. Employing the spouse as a journalist for the company newsletter or annual report are a couple options our clients have chosen. The key is to make both expatriate employee and spouse be a part of a team. This can have real benefits as the divorce rate previously reached up to 50% in some of our clients prior to Salo Homes managing the relocation process. Divorce obviously has a huge effect on the expats performance and usually spells doom for the whole assignment.
Education, day care and healthcare are also a major concern when considering the success of an expat and his family in China. Shanghai has a number of international schools, catering to American, British and Canadian school curriculum’s in so that they can easily transition in and out of the system with the grades that they will need when returning to the prospect of advanced learning like college and university programs. Choosing the right school is difficult to say the least. We like to arrange dinners with clients and current families whose children attend the school they are considering. And we especially like to have one long term expat and a short term expat to give both perspectives. The long term fallout from an improper educational choice is devastating: Especially in the case of learning disabilities.