What do you know about Dual-Careers in Switzerland?

What is important to know about the dual careers topic in Switzerland:

The term dual career refers to a family organization where both spouses or partners have an education of equivalent level and for whom professional identity and success in this field is a vital part of their identity. Generally, both work full-time in senior and / or management roles.

Dual career refers to a partnership constellation where both partners are highly educated, have a high upward career orientation, and work full time in a demanding job.
Career is there, for both partner, a major component of their identity.

Dual career – Trend

The number of dual-career couples is increasing and the trend is worldwide. Recent studies estimate that 30% of couples are dual career partnerships; this rate goes up to 80% for scientists.

In Switzerland, we find many families with two incomes but few of them identify themselves to dual careering.
For example, in canton Vaud, amongst the couples with children, 75% of them are constituted of two parents having a professional, salaried or independent activity.

However, the financial participation of the wife is much lower than the one of the spouse and represents only between 13% and 23% of the total income of the couple (1).

As a result, within the hiring companies, identification to the dual career topic remains uncertain.

The particularity of the Swiss market

In Geneva, 33% of employees work for international companies, 30% in the canton of Vaud. 45% of all managers in Swiss companies are foreigners being in Switzerland as a result of a professional mobility.

The Swiss challenge to recruit executives, directors, sales managers, and engineers in highly specialized areas of expertise, generates a real need for talent mobility.

As a consequence, Swiss based companies are more and more often confronted to the dual career challenge.

31% of HR managers report having experienced situations where applicants declined a job offer because of their spouse career situation.

17% experienced employees leaving the company because the partner could not adapt to the life in Switzerland (2)

According to recruiting firms (3) , dual career applicants are more likely to refuse an offer of employment as they care about the reluctance or inability of the partner to relocate.

According them, female candidates refuse a position more frequently than male candidates: When they decline a job offer, the female candidates are more likely to openly explain that their reason to decline is related to family reasons or to the interests of the partner career.

For recruiters, it is clear that a spouse’s career support clearly communicated during the recruitment process has a positive influence on the decision to accept or reject a job offer.

Setting up an organization to take into account dual careers positively impacts the results of the organization in terms of:

  • Recruitment performance
  • Retention
  • Mobility
  • Gender Parity
  • Employer Branding
  • And in terms of Social Responsibility

(1) Vaud statistics, portait des familles vaudoises (2013)
(2) Survey conducted in 2011 by job4U2 and the HR academic chair of Fribourg University
(3) job4U2 2015 Survey at Swiss Recruiting firm

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. 

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