Cartus’ Biggest Challenges survey lists schooling issues as one of the leading challenges for employees relocating abroad. Of particular concern were schooling challenges in Greater China (cited by 48% of respondents), Africa (45%), and the Middle East (44%). Given that the survey sample includes employees both with and without children, it is almost certainly the case that for families with children, schooling is at the top of the list of concerns. Think about your own relocating employees; it’s quite likely that the biggest single obstacle to talent mobility involves moving with children.
In the industrialized world, somewhere between 15 and 20 percent of students have some form of special education need. This can include anything from autism to attention-deficit disorder to medical conditions that require the child to receive supplemental academic support. This figure also includes very gifted students, who are often placed in special programs designed to challenge and stimulate them. Parents of these children have spent a great deal of time ensuring that the right support is provided to their children in the home location, and they will be extremely reluctant to upend those arrangements for an international assignment or domestic U.S. move.