Nine men turned up to the Les Brasseurs pub on Tuesday night at the Living in Nyon organised event, all of them were male trailing spouses who have moved here to follow female partners who are working in Geneva or Vaud based companies and organisations.
Michael Shevlin (right in photo), the author of the post on being a trailing spouse , said that among the many subjects discussed (including the difficulties of learning French!), the issue of being a male trailing spouse was talked about, but mostly in a positive light. “10 years ago many men in our position would have been considered unusual, but today most people don’t really blink an eye when you tell them about your situation and what you do, although we did comment on the fact that we feel it is harder for expat men to find social outlets to meet up, whereas there are a plethora of women’s clubs in the region.
Note: As last night was such a success there will be another event like this in approximately a month’s time – keep checking this site for details.
A growing trend?
After such a sucessful evening, Living in Nyon asked Diana Ritchie of the Spouse Career Centre (based in Crassier), if she also has observed that there is a now a growing trend of the arrival of more male trailing spouses to this area.
“Absolutely, 50% of the spouses we deal with now are male and this is for various reasons. One is that many companies have strong diversity employment policies so they are recruiting more women, secondly there are a lot of very talented women out there now in the employment pool and an international assignment moves them up the ladder. Also there are many men who are willing to consider being a trailing spouse, whereas a few years ago they wouldn’t have entertained the idea. There is another smaller factor that I have noticed in that some men are absolutely frazzled after many years of working in a stressful job and are quite happy to let their partner be the breadwinner while they take it slightly “easier”.
However in my professional capacity, I find that it doesn’t matter what gender the employee is, there are still companies out there that don’t look at the family unit as a part of the whole relocation package. Some companies barely give second thought to the accompanying spouse and it is so important that their needs be addressed. Companies that provide spouse career support understand the importance of attracting and retaining the best talent. It’s an expensive business for any organisation having to repatriate unhappy families and to start the lengthy process of rehiring”.
Finding a job is a full time job in itself
Photo above: Diana Ritchie of the Spouse Career Centre
At SCC Diana helps accompanying spouses to find a job here in Switzerland and goes on to say:
“Finding a job is a full time job in itself, whether you are a trailing spouse, have just lost your job or want to re-enter the workforce. If you are in your own country it takes time to research, draw up a CV, source out what companies and organisations are out there and work out the best person to approach. If you are in a new country where the system is slightly different, the rules of employment are not the same, and everything is in a different language it’s not easy to know how to go about it”.
Diana (originally from Canada) addresses this issue by helping the spouses of employees to look and find work in the French speaking part of Switzerland and for some even before they have arrived here. Multinationals moving into this area or those well established with a flow of expatriates or international hires engage Spouse Career Centre to work with the accompanying spouse to help them find employment, education or develop as an entrepreneur. They also work with individuals, whose organisation does not provide spouse career support, through Swiss Career Connections to coach them through the how, dos and don’ts of finding a job in this region of Switzerland.
“There are occasions when an employee, (say for example in the U.S or U.K), has been offered a position here in Vaud but his wife or her partner doesn’t want to give up their own job without knowing they will be able to continue in their chosen career path. This is where we step in, with our contacts and knowledge of the job market we can advise them on their employability and we can work with them to look for employment. This has a twofold effect, it makes the decision to come over here much easier, and it helps enormously with the main employee and their family being able to settle in easily. When they finally arrive, they do so in the knowledge that both members of the family are able to work”.
With her team of professional career advisors, Diana helps by analysing an employee’s skills and accomplishments, the options open to them, and she then develops a personal plan for each individual. “Each person has a designated coach who provides hands on, personalised service to ensure a 360° approach, we research target markets and introduce spouses to potential employers and prepare them for job interviews and we help support the hiring process until a contract is signed”.
As there are many multinational companies moving into the Vaud area this service is obviously a very useful one to have and Diana says “helping the families settle into their new home, being available when they are ready to begin their job search and as a result for the partner to find a job is a tremendous gift for companies to provide, especially when budgets are tight. Individuals understand the challenges faced in relocating their career, so much so that they are prepared to pay for our services themselves.”
Spouse Career Support, outplacement services and Individual Career support. Self Assessment tests, Employability Assessments, Career Coaching, Entrepreneurial, Educational and settling in support via one to one sessions.
A reminder of two events this weekend
Les Hivernales the winter rock n’ beat festival began last night in Nyon and continues over the weekend. Headline bands such as Ebony Bones from London and French band Yuksek will be performing tomorrow night in Nyon. See a previous post about this festival.
Also, the annual show of Elastique Citrique continues this weekend, a great place to take children. Juggling, monocycles, acrobatics in the air, it’s all in this show, the school always puts on a superb performance and the shows are very popular. Fridays 20:30 Saturdays 19:00 and Sunday 17:00. Tickets can be bought at the door (the school is situated to the Lausanne side of the main Place Perdstemps carpark in Nyon) See Elastique Citrique for more details.