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The unspoken challenges Dual Career partners are facing on the job market.

When we imagine ourselves relocating our career into a foreign country, the very first challenge that comes to our mind is the language.

Of course, speaking the local language(s) is greatly facilitating the job search however, there are other major pitfalls that Dual Career partners learn to overcome on the way:

Dual Career partners are more affected by the negativism of people crossing their way as they would have been back home because:

  • When in your country, in a familiar setting and a culture you know, a recruiter tells you “it’s not going to be possible”, you think “Well, he could be wrong, it’s only his own opinion, I will seek for more feed-back”. But when you do not know a thing about the local job market and that you do not have tons of opportunities to get alternative sources of information, you might let this one-person opinion destroy your confidence.

Dual Career partners do not have a supportive friend circles to cheer up their mood and encourage them in their efforts because

  • Friends left abroad are not aware about the relocation challenges and might demonstrate little empathy for the issues Dual Career partners encounter in their new location and might be sometime resentful for their departure. They might even think or say “if that’s so difficult, you should have stayed here with us” which obviously is not really helping,
  • It takes time to build a new circle of friends and most people who have not developed new friendships outside the working place for many years are a bit overwhelmed with the process.

Dual Career partners tend to misinterpret a rejection to a job application as a result of a gap in their profile and tend to quickly feel discouraged:

  • Because often, they are not sufficiently aware of the local job market reality and have a biased vision,
  • They can only rely on statistics and official numbers although a low employment rate might not always be synonym of an accessible market for outsiders.

Other challenges Dual Career partners are facing include missing the working life structure and its socializing opportunities, being overwhelmed by relocation domestic activities not providing much in terms of intellectual challenges, feeling disconnected from the working partner who is busy with getting up to speed with a new job, etc. The challenges are numerous.

Overcoming these obstacles is an incredibly powerful source of person development which greatly contribute to make the relocation worth it, however it sometime requires time and an outside help to get the best out of it.

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.


You’ve accepted a new job in Switzerland: 4 tips on how you can help your spouse or partner feel good with the situation

This is an exciting time in your professional life: new job, new country, maybe even new company.

There are millions of things to think about.

Closing files in your current job, organizing with the moving company, setting practical details with the new one, planning visits for a new apartment, booking with the relocation manager, visiting the schools for the kids, resigning the contract for electricity, phone, insurance, for things you even had forgotten you had subscribed to, maybe even selling the house or finding a tenant, meeting new colleagues, new business partners, learning a new way of working, sometime traveling a lot…
This is without telling about the hundreds of other things you constantly have in mind.

In this overwhelming process, difficult to keep in mind that your partner is experiencing all the same but, and that’s where there’s big difference, without the excitement of making something he or she wanted deeply come to life.

Of course, this has been a joint decision, you have not forced anybody to move to Switzerland, this was really a family decision: you have discussed it in long and large, together you have made lists, allocated scores to the set criteria, you might even have weight the options according to their importance for the family. The decision was a family decision based on a robust decision process.

You are all extremely happy about the relocation.


Bear with me for one moment, I have a few questions for you:

  • In these circumstances, how do you think is it easy for your wife or your husband to share with you this bitter feeling dip down hidden inside?
  • Your partner is taking on him/her big part of the tasks related to the relocation. Does the fact he or she is fully supportive necessarily means that it’s not a big thing to grieve for him or her?
  • You are a bit stressed because of the new job, this is not the most agreeable feeling but how much do you think that the lack of professional stress is compensating for the loss of the professional identity of your partner?

Of course, you realize all this, you are even extremely grateful to your partner and you do what to help him or her as much as you can, this is exactly why you are reading this article.

Here are my tips:

Be open

I meet coahees who tell me that they feel their partners is having a hard time in the new job but do not open up to them, afraid as they are that it will be interpreted as “I regret I took the job and made us come here”. The partners I meet are often sad about this.
Be open about what you experience at work, about your difficulties, your challenges, your successes and your joy: You made the decision to come together, your partner is expecting it to be couple adventure, something he or she can share with you.
Just phrase things are they are: “You know, it feels strange: there’re all these things at work I would like to share with you and I witness myself, not daring to. Maybe I am afraid it will make you feel bad. How do you see that yourself?”


For your partner, it’s important that you acknowledge the difficulty of his/her situation. Simply the fact to acknowledge allow a release of tension. By telling these simple words “You know I realize it is not easy for you and I am extremely grateful you decided we would come despite of the challenge and the hard time we would have to face, especially you. It’s not easy every day at work but I am still glad I am taking this career opportunity and I am really aware that you participated for a large part in having made it possible”.

When coming back home after work, acknowledge again: it’s really simple, just say: “I thought about you today and I was wondering how much you were missing you job/your former life”

These are really easy words to say and they make a huge difference.

Don’t come with solutions…

Not that offering solutions is bad by nature, but in this specific state of mind your partner is now, solutions tend to be perceived as a form of reprobation.
“He/she comes with solutions, as if it should be easy and that’s me making it difficult. He/she doesn’t realize that I feel down and lack the courage to take action…every day he/she’s sending me job offers, this makes me feel even worth”
These are words I hear in my office.
When asking “have you told him/her how it makes you feel?”, the answer is always “I can’t because he/she will take it personally and will feel bad of having pushed for moving here, I do not want that.”.

…but be subtitle

You can help, you can be a supportive shoulder but it’s something one does differently than coming with solutions
Instead of saying “you should network”, say: “Tomorrow I take you out, we go for a drink with the Internations group, I take care of finding a solution for the kids.

Instead of forwarding job ads with the mention “FYI”, print it and take it back home and say:
“I’ve been forwarded that job ad. There’re a few words that made me think about you like -experienced biologist- and -strong interpersonal skills- and then, I was wondering if that’s a role in which you could imagine yourself. Have you ever heard about this group?

Instead of saying “you should investigate career coaching”, say: “The spouse of one of my new colleague has contacted the company job4U2, they are specialized in dual career support. My colleague said that her husband was positively surprised. I wonder what this is about. Have you heard about such thing?”

Keeping these 4 tips in mind will help you help your partner, however do not feel bad if you do manage to ease his/her mind as much as you would like to. When facing a change, we all go through a roller coaster of emotions and there’s no way to stop the process, the only things you can do is:
1- take good care of yourself and manage your own roller coaster.
2- smoothen the roller coaster of your partner by remaining open and not running away from his/her reality.
The roller coasters will soon or latter slow down and offer new perspectives to both of you.

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes. 

Que faut-il savoir sur la thématique des carrières duales en Suisse ?

Dans de nombreux couples, les deux travaillent pour contribuer aux finances du ménage, c’est une nécessité économique de plus en plus rependue.

Le terme Carrière duale désigne une organisation familiale ou les deux conjoints ou partenaires ont une éducation de niveau équivalent et pour qui l’identité professionnelle et la réussite dans ce domaine constitue une partie primordiale de leur identitaire. Généralement, les deux travaillent à temps complet dans des rôles seniors et/ou de management.

Carrière duales- Tendance

La proportion de couples engagés dans une carrière duale est en nette augmentation, cette tendance est globale. D’après de récentes études, on estime que 30% des couples ont un tel type d’organisation. Ce taux monte à 80% pour les universitaires (post doc, chercheurs).

Au niveau local, en suisse, on observe de nombreuse familles à deux revenus mais peu de carrières duales à proprement dit:
Par exemple dans le canton de Vaud, pour 75 % des couples avec enfants, les deux parents exercent une activité professionnelle, salariée ou indépendante.
Cependant, La participation financière de l’épouse est largement inférieure à celle de l’époux et représentent entre 13 % et 23 % du revenu total du couple (1).

De ce fait, au sein de l’entreprise, l’identification à la problématique dual carrière du collaborateur reste incertaine.

La particularité du marché Suisse:

A Genève, 33% des salariés travaillent pour des entreprises internationales, 30 % dans le canton de Vaud. 45% de l’ensemble des dirigeants dans les entreprises suisses sont étrangers donc en phase plus ou moins active de mobilité de carrière.
La difficulté de recruter au niveau national pour les populations cadres et dirigeants d’entreprise, directeurs de vente, certain ingénieurs et dans des domaines d’expertise très pointus, génèrent un besoin important additionnel de mobilité des talents.

L’entreprise est de plus en plus souvent confrontée à la problématique des carrières duales.

31% des RH interrogés ont vu des candidat(e)s expérimenté(e)s refuser une proposition d’emploi en raison de la carrière du conjoint.

17% ont vécu l’expérience d’employé(e)s expérimenté(e)s quittant l’entreprise parce que le partenaire ne pouvait pas s’adapter à la vie en Suisse (2)

D’après les recruteurs (3), les candidat(e)s en double carrière sont plus susceptibles de refuser une offre d’emploi en raison de la réticence ou de l’impossibilité pour le partenaire de déménager.

Les candidates refusent beaucoup plus fréquemment un poste que les candidats masculins :
Lorsque ‘elles déclinent une offre de poste, les candidates évoquent davantage que les hommes, des raisons familiales et les intérêts de la carrière du conjoint.

Pour les recruteurs, il est clair qu’un soutien de carrière au conjoint clairement communiqué au cours du processus de recrutement a une influence positive sur la décision d’accepter ou de refuser une offre d’emploi.

Mettre en place une organisation pour tenir compte des carrières duales impacte positivement les résultats de l’organisation en termes de :

  • Performance en recrutement
  • De Rétention
  • De Mobilité
  • De Parité homme-femme
  • D’image de marque en tant qu’employeur
  • Et en termes de Responsabilité sociale

(1) Statistique Vaud, portait des familles vaudoises (2013)
(2) Sondage réalisé en 2011 par job4U2 et la chaire RH de l’université de Fribourg
(3) Étude 2015 job4U2 auprès de cabinets de recrutement Suisses

Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

Au sujet de l’auteur:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven est la directrice de job4U2, une société spécialisée dans les carrières duales. Elle a à cœur de faire du projet de relocation en Suisse un projet pour les deux. Avec les programmes de job4U2, elle soutient l’insertion professionnelle des conjoints en partageant sa connaissance du tissu économique suisse, des attentes et fonctionnement des recruteurs, mais aussi en faisant appel à sa capacité à créer et à entretenir la motivation de ses clients et en leur permettant l’accès aux ressources nécessaires pour s’adapter tout au long de cette période de des changements majeurs.

A 6 steps auto-coaching guide for New Year’s resolutions that won’t be forgotten

Tired of all these disappointing times when New Year’s resolutions have lasted a couple of weeks before we dropped them or forgot them, most of us have given up even trying to set them. “New Year’s resolution? Never mind!”

Yet, don’t you secretly dream that this new year could be a little different, a little better, maybe it could be the year of a real personal development, or even the year of a positive change in your life?
This year, not a list of objectives which are impossible to achieve but rather a bit of time for yourself to identify an objective that is really important to you while starting 2018.

In the first place: A profound yet dynamic self-awareness.

Profound because for your resolution to bring you something strong, durable and fully satisfying, it should be related to your deep-Self and not to your ego or to a passing wish. One tends to imagine the Self as something static but yet it is extremely liberating to think about who we are as being in movement, with a dynamic reality. Remember the person you were in early 2017, the thoughts that cluttered your mind, your internal state, your physical shape, your mood. Is it exactly the same now?
Thus it is to your Self of this beginning of 2018 that these resolutions should be addressed.

Step 1: A few questions to re-acquaint yourself with your present Self.

  • In what stage of your life are you? I suggest a very simplified model: period of construction, period of maturation or period of harvest.
  • What are the ones of your roles which today are important to you? Parent, professional, friend, child, spouse, other?
  • What is your body telling you?  Exhaustion, energy, need for movement, need for well-being, tension, relaxation, etc.?
  • What have you been proud of or satisfied with in 2017?
  • Which compliment has especially touched you? What does that tell you about yourself?

Give time to these reflections to make their way and to anchor before you move on to step 2.
Let them accompany you in a moment of calm, of relaxation where you can be alone with your own thoughts.

Step 2: Your current aspirations.

  • What more do you pursue today?
  • What less do you pursue today?
  • What difference are you seeking for today?
  • What do you expect from fulfilling these aspirations that is really important to you? What is there essential to you?

Of all these things that have come to your mind, which one induces emotion, which one resonates most in you, or which one provokes pleasant dreams?

Step 3: At this point, you start sensing which directions are tempting to take and which are most important to you.

  • What do you need to happen in your life to feel satisfied, at the end of 2018, with your progress filling the gap between current situation and targeted situation?
  • Note this as Your Goal.

How will you feel when you will have achieved this goal, what will you tell to yourself? What will you then think of yourself? What will make others realise that you have reached your goal?

Step 4: The very first little step.

  • What could be the smallest possible step you could make toward this goal? This must be something you can proceed with in the next couple of weeks.
  • What could still prevent you from performing this in the coming 2 weeks?
  • Modify your first smallest step possible until nothing can stop you from actually doing it within two weeks.

Step 5: Surround yourself with people with the type of energy that might fail you to be able to keep moving forward beyond the first small step.

Identify and write down at least 1 resource person and share your resolution with him/her. Ask him/her formally for his/her support.

Step 6: Plan how you will celebrate the successful achievement of your 2018 resolution.

Make an appointment in your agenda with yourself or with those you want to be part of the celebration of this success.

I wish you a lot of success in achieving your 2018 resolution and a wonderful year 2018!! Sandrine van den Oudenhoven

About the author:
sandrinepicture_contactSandrine van den Oudenhoven helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes. Read more article from Sandrine on the blog