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Firms all at sea overseas

The take-up and success of overseas postings would improve if companies gave more help to the partners of staff they want to send to work abroad, writes Diane Coyle.

Although nearly three-quarters of companies recognise that working partners have become a more important barrier to their employees taking up international assignments, only two-fifths have a policy to help these wives or husbands.

A survey published today by the Confederation of British Industry and Organisation Resources Counsellors advises companies to become more sensitive to employees' family needs. John Cridland, the CBI's director of human resources, said: "Selecting the staff to send overseas would be improved if firms treated the partners as part of the team."

Of the 38 per cent of survey respondents with a formal policy, the most common help given to partners was language training and help with work permits and job searches.