Laid-off corporate executives and managers often receive job search support via outplacement. However, things are different in this Career 3.0 world.
Recently the WSJ published an article about the downsizing of outplacement. Outplacement for executives formerly might have lasted throughout the length of a job search – even a whole year or more – but now companies pay just for a few months. You can read the full article here.
So … is this a problem?
Interviews with a few displaced executives suggests that outplacement might have less value than before. Additionally, some people will be surprised at what turns out to be most helpful. For instance, your consultant may not be familiar with your local job market. The truth is, employment opportunities change daily, like the market for home purchases. Your consultant should help you learn how to navigate your local market and consider whether it makes sense to move.
Your consultant – whether a private coach or an outplacement firm hired by the company – should encourage you to consider starting your own business, even if you’ve never hung out a shingle – not even run a lemonade stand as a child. At the same time, you can still continue to search for a new job where you are employed by a company.
Finally, many outplacement firms – and many career consultants – begin by asking you to take a battery of tests. Typically these tests will show that you are perfectly suited to the job you just left.
I once talked to someone who had been employed in sales for a software company many years ago. He didn’t belong in sales. He hated what he was doing. And he was a misfit in the company culture. When he was fired, he negotiated for outplacement. After two weeks of testings and assignments like, “Write down every job you’ve ever had,” the outplacement consulting firm declared he was a perfect fit for sales. In fact, they said, maybe he could be a sales manager!
That’s a pretty extreme case and it happened a long time ago. But the story illustrates an important fact. Outplacement firms work for your employer and typically report to Human Resources. They do not advocate for you. They are hired to avoid lawsuits and they want to get you into a new job as quickly as possible, because you won’t have damages that can be recovered in a lawsuit.
The traditional view was, “You’re likely to get a job in the same industry and role that you just left.” In Career Change 3.0, we know that’s not true for all industries. However, your outplacement firm will probably want to play the odds. If jobs aren’t available in your current field, they’ll likely suggest self employment, which is not always a bad thing.
More details in this video (due to a technical error, the sound stops early – we’re working on it):