Atg Logo Vector

Does Gender Play a Role When Couples Move Out of State for Their Careers?

Advice from SWE members about how to plan to move out of state with your spouse for a job.
Become A Swe Leader

It was another great month for discussions on our social media channels, with members dispensing career advice or discussing academic direction in engineering tracks. One discussion in particular sparked some interesting debate, as members reacted to this article in the Washington Post. The article itself examined research that suggests when two-earner couples move for reasons related to career advancement, it is usually for the sake of the man in the relationship. SWE members traded advice and related their own personal experience in situations reflective of those described in the study.

“Wild. I wanted to disagree but found myself annoyingly nodding. I worked in an awesome job at an incredible aerospace engineering firm. I was even climbing the ladder and doing really well. I was making more than twice my then husband’s income and all benefits were from my employer. My then-husband was struggling to prove his value as a police officer but was not moving through the ranks. He decided to try another state. We moved. His job didn’t pan out. We moved to a state that did not have aerospace so I found a job as a transportation engineer. Good pay but not my field. Needless to say circumstances arose that demanded a divorce. I moved again to a stay with aerospace engineering. After a loss of seven years to my career in aerospace, I am now back in, but at a much lower level than I would have been had I not moved. I’m not bitter, but I’m sure I would be further if I had not agreed to leave my awesome job for a slim chance at improving his career. Trade-off was an amazing seven year old daughter who wants to be a space pilot.” – Zyola M.

“We have moved four times since we’ve been married. The first two times I moved for my husband’s job and the last two times we moved when I took new engineering jobs. It was a bit strange the first time we moved for my job when he went house hunting while I interviewed. It also took some blunt discussions with employers to make clear that I would be the primary wage-earner so their offers should reflect that in order to be considered. We’ve supported each other throughout our careers and done what’s been best for us and for our family.” – Alycia S.

“I’ve been blessed with a husband that supports my career. When I received my promotion to go lead my company’s Caribbean office he quit his job and moved with me. We have a small child and to him it was more important to be together as a family than to make more money living away from each other. It’s a compromise among both individuals in the relationship no matter which one it is. A marriage, a union, a relationship has to be based on a team approach. Sometimes one gives more than the other but equally throughout the life of the relationship. I’m happy he chose to support me and understood how great of an opportunity this was for me and our family. Again I’m truly blessed.” – Eileen V.

“My husband left his engineering job to follow me to the U.S. for me to do my PhD. Eight years later, he just got a green card but is facing a huge challenge getting a job. He goes to interviews but it is very hard to justify an eight-year gap (including three years as a stay-home dad). If you ever interview a man like that, please do not judge them, some decisions are immigration-law restricted and not always predictable … I think that having a gap in a resume does not help males or females, but sometimes they happen. “- Vuka J.

“My husband followed me for four years through four states while I was in a rotation program and accepting long-term site assignments. He was without a job for a while when I was on-site for six months, but got back into it once we left that. I am so thankful for his support of my career, but it’s also been good for him too, making connections across the country now that he’s starting his own business. Moving and relocation can be beneficial for both partners, but requires work and dedication from both. It’s not easy.”- Kristine B.

“My engineering job brings the major bacon in, so my husband had no problem with relocating for my current job, he was actually excited about it.” – Laura G.

“I moved three times while my wife went to school, residency and finally her practice. I didn’t know it was odd until everyone kept asking me why I moved with her. My response was ‘are you serious?’ They were. Especially in Cleveland.” – Sean J.

Be sure to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and add your voice to our next discussion.


  • SWE Blog

    SWE Blog provides up-to-date information and news about the Society and how our members are making a difference every day. You’ll find stories about SWE members, engineering, technology, and other STEM-related topics.