Australia lagging in outplacement services

Australia is trailing behind the rest of the world in outplacement, a new study has found. Here’s why HR pros need to turn it around.

As reported earlier this week, Right Management has released detailed findings regarding outplacement services across the globe. Focusing on Australia, the results show that 50% of Australian companies have outplacement services, as compared to 74% in the US and 65% in the UK.

Tim Roche, career management practice leader Australia and NZ at Right Management, told HC that this stems primarily from a less sophisticated line of thinking in Australia regarding employer brand management.

“If you think about the impact of downsizing, it occurs in a number of ways. There are those individuals whose roles disappear, and then there are individuals who remain in the organisation,” he explained. “Those who remain look around and say “how caring is my organisation? They are happy enough to use my services or the services of my colleagues but now that they don’t need them anymore they are just out on the street,”.”

Ways of tackling ‘survivor guilt’ and putting these negative thoughts to rest has been covered by HC in the past. However, there are further implications for organisations that do not provide outplacement services.

Roche explained that organisations that do not have some form of formal severance policies face a robust legal framework that ensures redeployment opportunities are due process. He urged organisations without these policies to think strongly about implementing them, as they are at a high level of legal exposure.

Outside of employment branding and legal pitfalls, providing outplacement services can also help redundant employees find their passions in life, and improve their standard of living.

“Typically speaking, people get socialised into careers – leave school, go to University, make a selection at University based on parental pressure, entrance mark, etc,” Roche explained.

Often, this results in mid-career crisis, in which employees are unhappy with what they are doing, but unable to articulate what they want to do. Through engaging with outplacement services, employers can help their laid-off staff find not only new work, but that of a similar pay-grade and more in line with their passions.

“Out of a sample size of 3,596 which is pretty robust size in terms of statistical validity – 62% of respondents indicated that their new salary level [following engagement with Right Management’s outplacement service] was equal or higher than the salary in their previous role,” Roche explained. “48% of respondents landed their role via what we call the hidden market and 52% landed their role via the traditional recruiter market. My point here is that outplacement provides individuals with the tools and skills to market themselves more effectively by not relying solely on the recruitment sector and hence shorten their job search time.”

Do you have an outplacement strategy in your organisation? Have you ever been on the other side of one?

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