At least national mobility is generally required for career advancement in academia, creating logistic challenges for dual career couples. Most institutions have not developed policies or practices to support dual career couples, which often results in internationally excellent potential employees not joining the institution and reduces the diversification of the academic workforce.
Providing specific measures and support for both members of dual career couples
To provide career support to partners of new appointees in an institution, particularly if they are on an academic or professional career and they are moving internationally.
One or more people to gather the relevant information, draft the guidelines, and develop relationships in the region.
A website to upload the relevant information.
Creation of a webpage with information about relocation (for Warwick see: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/humanresources/vacancies/relocation/)
Greater support for staff who relocate.
Change of university culture to consider dual career couples in institutional policies and practices.
Work and personal life integration
Type of action
Availability of supports/resources
University of Warwick
Higher education institution
Action level of implementation
Researchers and professors
The first step of this action is to determine what help partners of applicants for positions need to be able to relocate with a future employee of the institution, without career-detriment. This action usually requires liaising with different services within the organisation and perhaps also in the region.
It is important to arrange meetings to discuss the need for such an action with the relevant services/working groups within the university (e.g. Equality/Diversity, Immigration Services) and collaborate with the university Human Resources Team/Careers Advisor to provide information about relocating and finding employment in the broader area.
Relevant information can include:
- Information about the local area
- Accommodation information
- Information about local recruitment providers
- Healthcare provision
- Schools and education
- Public transport and how to get around
- Tourism and things to do
- Local council webpages
- Contact names in neighbouring universities and other large employers where relevant vacancies may occur
During the recruitment process, it should be the responsibility of the Departmental or other HR Officer who liaises with the candidates to ensure information is shared with candidates who have been selected for interview.
After a job offer has been made to an individual, the Departmental or other HR Officer should offer to liaise with the new appointee and/or their partner/spouse, by telephone or email, to provide appropriate career-related support. This could include helping with job applications to ensure the candidate is representing their skills appropriately, interview training etc. In some cases it may involve creating opportunities for the partner to shadow a role in an institution, or to meet academics with funding who may be looking for employees.
Tips/strategies – Lessons learnt
Any documentation created should be shared with senior departmental administrators as well as HR advisors and should be linked to from departmental websites along with the main university website.
Supporting a partner can be time-consuming, but is an investment for the future which needs to be recognised in work allocation.
It is essential that if an offer of help is made it is acted upon.
For more information on this topic see also:
- An analysis of dual career and integration services:
- Dual academic career couples – what universities need to know: