Is outplacement dying?

by HCA11 Feb 2014
With job cuts up nearly 50% for the month of January 2014 over January 2013, many companies will be considering outplacement, particularly those in retail. Huge layoffs at Sears, Macy’s, JC Penney and Target are fueling income for several outplacement companies, but how effective is outplacement in reality?

According to a global survey by Right Management: 
  • 69% of companies offer outplacement to department heads, managers and supervisors that are involuntarily separated
  • 35% of private corporations globally offer money in lieu of outplacement services
  • In the 12 months following a downsizing, 34% of companies that bought outplacement reported productivity increases versus 28% of non-buyers
  • Unwanted turnover decreased for 17% of buyers versus 14% of non-buyers
  • Sick days decreased for 28% of buyers, compared with 18% of non-buyers
  • Employee satisfaction increased for 38% of buyers versus 14% of non-buyers
However, when HC contacted the firm, Right Management declined to identify examples of successful outplacement clients, nor could it reveal whether outplacement was trending upwards or downwards.

Sandra McCartt, a Texas-based recruiter, predicted a downturn in the number of companies providing the services.

“I think we're seeing less and less of outplacement,” she said. “It has not been very effective through the recession, because if there weren't jobs to go to, all of the outplacement in the world doesn't help.”

For employees who have been working in the same workplace for decades, outplacement could be useful, McCartt said. But for others who have been active job seekers more recently, they may not need the services. She cited an example of an engineer with a Ph.D. who milked the benefits of outplacement when he could have gotten a job without it. “He could have cared less (sic), but when it got close to the end of his severance package, then he got serious about the job,” she said.


  • by Margaret Sinclair 11/02/2014 1:26:58 PM are the only outplacement firm I am aware of that are proactive and have a business model around finding " all " affected staff new work. They provide monthly reports on amount of interviews , offers and acceptance stages for all our people. About time I say and long overdue. MS

  • by Maite Baron - The Corporate Escape 12/02/2014 4:44:18 AM

    Traditional outplacement services are dying because they are failing to support professionals in transition as they need. So most professionals don't even bother to take these services any longer.

    At we don’t look to just ‘recreate the past’, but rather aim to ‘ignite an inner spirit of enterprise’ by developing entrepreneurial thinking, shifting mindsets, growing their emotional intelligence and building social capital so professionals and executives become much better equipped and ready for a future where being in work is being in business. We develop their skills and expand their options and that creates very different results that focusing in CV re-writing and job searching.

    At we don’t just give people ‘some tools’ and push them automatically towards another job no matter what. Instead, we make sure that they identify the professional life that they actually want, and then help them to achieve it.

    Unless professionals learn new skills and shift their thinking outplacement services will fail to prepare them for the future of work.

  • by Bob Cooper 12/02/2014 8:14:02 AM

    I beg to differ strongly with Sandra MCCartt. Those who receive outplacement support are at a decided advantage compared to those with no support whether the market is difficult or not. As a job applicant it is often the coaching and advice that the career consultant gives that makes the difference between shortlisting or not and then being that small % better prepared and presented than other candidates for the final selection.
    In regards to Margaret's comments, I think that it is great what Upsonar does. (and they are not the only one doing this). Unfortunately privacy policies and laws prevent many outplacement organisations revealing what is happening to the "affected staff" without the expressed permission of those staff. Many of the staff do not want their former employer to know what they are doing with their job hunting.

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