As international interactions become ever more vital in the increasingly competitive global workplace, relocation trends are encouraging regarding the current and future growth of expatriate populations. Many of these expats have a family in tow; therefore, companies who invest in providing superior relocation support for entire families will not only have a competitive edge, but will also reap benefits on their bottom line while impacting the industry (and society!) in positive ways.

The Cost of not Doing it Well

In a recent report from EY & NetExpat, “Children Issues” was among the top 5 most common reasons for failed assignment (in addition to “Partner Not Happy,” “Job Satisfaction,” and “Employee Performance”), and 65% of the people polled cited “Other Family Issues” as being among the most common reasons for not accepting an international assignment.

Expatriation failure (or early repatriation), can represent up to 2.5 times the cost of the employee’s yearly salary. Employees often do not seek support when their families are struggling to adapt as they do not want to be seen as not up to the task of their assignment. Studies have found the presence of children during an expat assignment is “more likely to place additional demands on resources and subsequently increase workplace strain, and expatriate failure” (Rawls, 2016). Companies can invest in supporting the children of expatriates employees in order to ensure the entire family has a successful relocation and as a result save – and prevent – excessive costs.

Good Return on Investment

Aside from a company’s financial gain, there’s an even bigger return on investment: Because expat kids are exposed to vast experiences and cultures, they develop broad perspectives (the so-called “global mindset”), adaptability, language and leadership skills that allow them to work well with others and have increased potential (when compared with their non-expat peers) to grow into positions of influence and power, applying their experiential knowledge and insight.

Companies who support these expat kids by welcoming them and seizing the opportunity to interact with, and help them overcome the challenges they face with relocation, are at the gateway for intercultural excellence and progress, improving the chances that our future leaders are well adjusted and making positive contributions to society that, in the end, will benefit us all.

Want to learn more about how your company can do a better job at supporting your relocating families? Contact us for your free copy of our Child Relocation Checklist in which we’ve identified the top 5 areas for companies to consider when developing effective relocation support for expatriate children.

Original content written by: Kate Berger

Kate Berger, MSc, is a child and adolescent psychologist, consultant, speaker and the founder of The Expat Kids Club which provides counsel to youngsters and their families via individual and corporate consultation. For more information about Kate and the services she offers, please see:


NetExpat & EY Relocating Partner Survey Report 2018


Rawls, K. A Phenomenological Examination of Expatriate Families During Their Transitions to

Living in a Foreign Country (2016). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs).


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